132

Octobop: Very Early

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
Octobop: Very Early I received a copy of Octobop's fourth CD, Very Early, very late—well past its actual release date—but better late than never, as saxophonist Geoff Roach's urbane northern California-based ensemble does its usual splendid job of reawakening and perpetuating the cool sounds of West Coast Jazz from the '50s, '60s and beyond.

This time, the octet has reached beyond its customary Gerry Mulligan-Marty Paich-Shorty Rogers base to include themes by Johnny Mandel, Henry Mancini, Bill Evans, Bob Mintzer, Mel Tormé/Bob Wells, Charles Mingus and trumpeter Randy Smith, completing the program with Mulligan's "A Ballad, Rogers' "Powder Puff and a trio of standards, "Do You Know What Means to Miss New Orleans, "Love Me or Leave Me and "You're My Everything, the last two arranged by Paich. Roach penned five charts, guitarist Jack Conway four.

The overall mood is decisively nonchalant and hip, as befits the ensemble's courtly influences. Tempos range from leisurely to moderate, with three bona fide rockers—"Love Me or Leave Me, "Powder Puff, "You're My Everything —among the dozen selections. Even there, one can sense an invisible hand on the throttle, gently governing the pace so that it never gets out of hand. Roach, who plays baritone most of the way, alto flute on his arrangement of Mancini's theme from "The Pink Panther, forges a number of pleasing albeit decorous solos, as do Conway, Smith, saxophonist Matt Kesner, trombonist Jon Schermer and vibraphonist Bill Hazzard. Bassist Brian Brockhouse and drummer Roy Kaufmann are front and center (with Kesner interposing his soprano) on Mingus' mournful "Goodbye Porkpie Hat.

Not to belittle what Octobop has accomplished, but it should be noted that Very Early is ideally suited for listening while doing something else, which makes it perfect for radio airplay. Not that one has to do anything else besides listen, which in itself is quite agreeable. On the other hand, it doesn't take a great deal of focus or deep thought. It's simply charming music, lovingly performed by eight ardent and capable musicians.

Track Listing: Love Me or Leave Me; Keester Parade; Pink Panther; A Ballad; Very Early; Powder Puff; Mosaic; Born to Be Blue; Saudades; Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans; Goodbye Porkpie Hat; You

Personnel: Geoff Roach: leader, baritone sax, alto flute; Matt Kesner: tenor, alto, soprano sax; Randy Smith: trumpet; Jon Schermer: trombone; Bill Hazzard: vibraphone; Jack Conway: guitar; Brian Brockhouse: bass; Roy Kaufmann: drums.

Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Mystic Lane Records | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read Disappeared Behind the Sun CD/LP/Track Review Disappeared Behind the Sun
by Karl Ackermann
Published: March 29, 2017
Read Innate CD/LP/Track Review Innate
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: March 29, 2017
Read The Seasons CD/LP/Track Review The Seasons
by Edward Blanco
Published: March 29, 2017
Read Planets + Persona CD/LP/Track Review Planets + Persona
by Glenn Astarita
Published: March 29, 2017
Read avantNOIR CD/LP/Track Review avantNOIR
by Nicola Negri
Published: March 29, 2017
Read Peace and Love: A Tribute to Will Connell CD/LP/Track Review Peace and Love: A Tribute to Will Connell
by Troy Dostert
Published: March 28, 2017
Read "Binary" CD/LP/Track Review Binary
by Dave Wayne
Published: January 5, 2017
Read "Chronicles" CD/LP/Track Review Chronicles
by Mark Sullivan
Published: September 29, 2016
Read "Allied Forces" CD/LP/Track Review Allied Forces
by David A. Orthmann
Published: November 13, 2016
Read "Solstice" CD/LP/Track Review Solstice
by Budd Kopman
Published: December 17, 2016
Read "The Big Shake-Up" CD/LP/Track Review The Big Shake-Up
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 21, 2016
Read "I Just Want to Get Paid!" CD/LP/Track Review I Just Want to Get Paid!
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 15, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!