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

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.

Title: Very Early | Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Mystic Lane Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Masters In Bordeaux CD/LP/Track Review Masters In Bordeaux
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: August 19, 2017
Read On Parade In Parede CD/LP/Track Review On Parade In Parede
by John Sharpe
Published: August 19, 2017
Read Good Merlin CD/LP/Track Review Good Merlin
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: August 19, 2017
Read I Believe In You CD/LP/Track Review I Believe In You
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 18, 2017
Read Morning Sun CD/LP/Track Review Morning Sun
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 18, 2017
Read The Conscience CD/LP/Track Review The Conscience
by John Sharpe
Published: August 18, 2017
Read "Through The Glass" CD/LP/Track Review Through The Glass
by Nicola Negri
Published: March 25, 2017
Read "The Authorized Bang Collection" CD/LP/Track Review The Authorized Bang Collection
by Doug Collette
Published: April 29, 2017
Read "Les Deux Versants Se Regardent" CD/LP/Track Review Les Deux Versants Se Regardent
by John Sharpe
Published: February 23, 2017
Read "Ockeghem Octets" CD/LP/Track Review Ockeghem Octets
by John Eyles
Published: July 14, 2017
Read "From Two Balconies" CD/LP/Track Review From Two Balconies
by Geno Thackara
Published: March 21, 2017
Read "In All My Holy Mountain" CD/LP/Track Review In All My Holy Mountain
by Roger Farbey
Published: February 12, 2017

Sponsor: JANA PROJECT | LEARN MORE  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.