All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

92

Octobop: Very Early

By

Sign in to view read count
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

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Very Early

Very Early

Mystic Lane Records
2007

buy
After Dark

After Dark

Mystic Lane Records
2005

buy

Related Articles

Read Murals CD/LP/Track Review
Murals
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: May 20, 2018
Read Cosmic Language CD/LP/Track Review
Cosmic Language
by Chris May
Published: May 20, 2018
Read More Songs About Error And Shame CD/LP/Track Review
More Songs About Error And Shame
by Friedrich Kunzmann
Published: May 20, 2018
Read Jubilation! Celebrating Cannonball Adderley CD/LP/Track Review
Jubilation! Celebrating Cannonball Adderley
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 20, 2018
Read Earth CD/LP/Track Review
Earth
by Chris May
Published: May 20, 2018
Read Vegir CD/LP/Track Review
Vegir
by Mark Sullivan
Published: May 19, 2018
Read "Lantern" CD/LP/Track Review Lantern
by John Kelman
Published: June 26, 2017
Read "A Piece of the Apple" CD/LP/Track Review A Piece of the Apple
by Geno Thackara
Published: August 7, 2017
Read "Roscanna" CD/LP/Track Review Roscanna
by Ian Patterson
Published: January 1, 2018
Read "All Through the Night" CD/LP/Track Review All Through the Night
by Nicholas F. Mondello
Published: June 17, 2017
Read "Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven" CD/LP/Track Review Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven
by Doug Collette
Published: December 9, 2017
Read "Amour Cruel" CD/LP/Track Review Amour Cruel
by Peter Jurew
Published: July 29, 2017