92

Octobop: Very Early

By

Sign in to view read count
Octobop: Very Early Why can't they make albums like this anymore? A few words that might best describe this project could be: West Coast Jazz both joyous and swinging. The group's leader, reedman Geoff Roach, puts the Octobop musical mission in total perspective. Roach has always been enamored of the mid-sized West Coast bands of Shorty Rogers, Marty Paich and Dave Pell, as well as the piano-less ensembles of artists like Gerry Mulligan. Roach has assembled a group of eight musicians who are fully capable of ensemble as well as solo playing. In seeking to improve the group's communication with the public, as well as bringing back the West Coast sound, Roach utilizes both the original arrangements of Rogers, Paich and others, as well as charts by his own personnel; sometimes both within the same composition.



The results of Roach's planning are truly unique and certainly West Coast jazz fans can once again hear the music that leapt from every doorway several decades ago. Johnny Mandel's "Keester Parade" is a perfect example. With a new arrangement by guitarist Jack Conway, this tuneful melody is given the same treatment that Cy Touff provided some fifty years ago, and now features a spirited solo battle between trombonist Jim Schermer's and muted trumpeter Randy Smith. Gerry Mulligan's signatory "A Ballad" is played appropriately by Roach's baritone sax while he and Schermer take solo space as the composition remains both nostalgic and updated by Roach's arrangement.

The title tune is the same one written and recorded first by Bill Evans, with another effective arrangement from Conway, featuring tenor saxophonist Matt Kesner and vibraphonist Bill Hazzard, who also contributes several other sterling solos throughout.



The list of highlights goes on and on. Roach's baritone is featured on the film score version of Mel Tormé's "Born to be Blue." Shorty Rogers' "Powder Puff" takes the up-tempo tune with a Roach arrangement and features Smith, along with the baritone saxophonist. The inclusion of "Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans" is strictly a personal touch from Roach, who not only hails from the Crescent City, but wants to remind the public of the hardships there over the past few years. The album is bookended by two Paich arrangements of "Love Me or Leave Me" and "You're My Everything," both taken up-tempo

Octobop's fourth album, Very Early, is a terrific combination of West Coast jazz nostalgia and high level ensemble performance, in addition to the showmanship of the solo work of these eight musicians. It is a masterful mix of innovation and musical diversity.


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're My Everything.

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

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


Shop

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Cedar Walton Cedar Walton
piano
Art Pepper Art Pepper
sax, alto
Gerry Mulligan Gerry Mulligan
sax, baritone
Milt Jackson Milt Jackson
vibraphone
Henry Mancini Henry Mancini
composer/conductor
Eden Atwood Eden Atwood
vocalist
Charles Davis Charles Davis
saxophone
Bob Lark Bob Lark
trumpet
Tutti Camarata
arranger
Boz Scaggs Boz Scaggs
guitar

More Articles

Read Transparent Water CD/LP/Track Review Transparent Water
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 20, 2017
Read Billows Of Blue CD/LP/Track Review Billows Of Blue
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 20, 2017
Read Love Dance CD/LP/Track Review Love Dance
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 20, 2017
Read Honest Woman CD/LP/Track Review Honest Woman
by James Nadal
Published: February 20, 2017
Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Final Concert CD/LP/Track Review The Final Concert
by John Sharpe
Published: February 19, 2017
Read "Nwayo" CD/LP/Track Review Nwayo
by James Nadal
Published: June 24, 2016
Read "Live at the JazzRoom" CD/LP/Track Review Live at the JazzRoom
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 17, 2016
Read "Shovel Down" CD/LP/Track Review Shovel Down
by Doug Collette
Published: December 18, 2016
Read "Honest Woman" CD/LP/Track Review Honest Woman
by James Nadal
Published: February 20, 2017
Read "Blues Revival" CD/LP/Track Review Blues Revival
by James Nadal
Published: August 18, 2016
Read "Live in New York" CD/LP/Track Review Live in New York
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 8, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

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!

Buy it!