Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Genres: Jazz, Pop
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Philip S. from NORWICH, VT
Reviewed on 9/23/2006...
Tom Harrell, trumpet and flugelhorn; Joe Lovano, sax; Mulgrew Miller, piano; Steve Swallow, Parker "Fly" electric bass guitar; Jack DeJohnette, drums. Recorded in New York, December 1993.
Swallows tunes, Harrell's playing make a great CD
Michael Lloyd | Santa Monica, CA United States | 05/02/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Despite its name, none of the tunes played on this side are featured in the Real Book as of yet. This CD contains all original music composed and arranged by Steve Swallow, the bass player who created this album. It is evident what a talented player and the composer his is at the first listen to this record. From the beginning to the end, it is enjoyable to hear. This first tune entitled "Bite Your Grandmother," and the head doesn't sound like anything that anyone's grandmother would want to listen to, which was probably the intent of the title. It begins with a thunderous solo by Jack DeJohnette over the form for one chorus, then the horns play the head. The head is quite unique in itself because of its great use of rhythm and is crazy harmonies of half steps and tri-tones between the two horns. All of this is played over B flat rhythm changes. All though the head could be considered to be "out," the solos sound pretty inside for the most part. Tom Harrell's solo on flugelhorn is filled with great bebop derived eighth note lines that seem to flow really smoothly. Joe Lovano's solo on tenor saxophone begins with a series of notes that sounds as if he's throwing up. His solo is full of shorter phrases that Harrell's, and are played in a more raunchy fashion. His tone also seems pretty harsh in some spots. One particularly interesting thing about this tune is the fact that they walk a chorus in between each of the solos, with DeJohnette kind of soloing over the rest of the rhythm section. I still wonder why it was that they did this. The second tune, "Second Handy Motion," is just a bit more laid back than the first . This tune is a swinging medium tempo blues that is reminiscent of Gene Harris, but doesn't swing anywhere near as much. Mulgrew Miller's solo on this tune, however, is nice in the way he plays it. His blues lines swing pretty hard, and his block chords sound a bit like Red Garland's comping. Lovano's solo on this tune is interesting because he doesn't really swing that hard, or play greasy in the style that this tune is written. His solo is nice, but it was going somewhere else. "Wrong Together" is a beautiful ballad with a great piano intro by Miller. Swallow solos for the first time on this tune. He plays the head and then a wonderful solo. His playing on this tune is in the high register of the electric bass, so high that it sounds almost like a guitar. His solo shows that he is an incredible composer and bass player. Harrell's solo on this tune is absolutely beautiful. It is extremely melodic and heartfelt. Wonderful playing all the way around on this tune. "Outfits" is an up tempo samba with an amazingly simple melody. The melody itself is just whole notes that basically go up in either half or whole steps over the harmonic background. Its like all the voice leading is already mapped out for you right in the melody, kind of like "All the Things You Are." All the solos on this tune are great. Miller does a nice repeated Latin rhythm to get the band back into the head "Thinking Out Loud" is similar in feel to "Outfits" but is slower. The melody on this tune is also relatively simple. Harrell's playing on this tune is great. His lines are superb and groove extremely well with the rhythm section. He cools it down toward the end to allow the piano to begin soloing. Miller uses one sequence for almost a chorus, and its great to hear how he can change it in many different ways. Aside from "Bite Your Grandmother," "Let's Eat" is my favorite tune on this side. The tune is based on "Softly" changes, and is a great up tempo type Latin tune. The melody itself encompasses a lot of the groove and is makes want to tap your foot or move your head when you listen to it. Lovano's solo is pretty good for the first chorus until he starts messing around with the weird altissimo shit. His playing from then on until the end of his solo doesn't fit with the style being played. Miller's solo is pretty grooving, and Harrell's solo, is again great. When he plays, it sounds like the whole band gets into the groove and its amazing when that happens. "Better Times" sounds a lot like "Outfits" and reminds me a lot of the music from World Three of Super Mario Bros. 3. Its kind of played in a lackadaisical fashion and sounds floaty. Miller is the only player that solos on this tunes and really enforces the floatyness of the tune. It sounds good in the context of the tune. It is short and sweet. "Willow" is a waltz in 3/4 where the piano has the melody, and Swallow takes the first solo. His playing on this tune is very melodic as well and sounds amazingly good on electric bass. Miller's solo is very melodic as well, and shows off his facility as a piano player. This tune is kept to trio playing, and is another nice addition to the CD. "Muddy in the Bank" is an up tempo swing tune. I think that Joe Lovano's playing on this tune maybe his best of the album with the exception of on "Bite Your Grandmother." His time really sounds great and in the pocket with the groove on this one. His playing is also more melodic and swinging than on the other tunes. With only two solos, another short tune. The last song is entitled "Ponytail," and is other medium tempo swing tune. The form on this song is ridiculously long, so everyone only blows a chorus on this tune. Harrell and Lovano's playing are great on this tune as well. This tune ends off and album that began rather violently in a more subdued fashion than it began. I think that this album is definitely worth checking out. Tom Harrell's playing is wonderful, and Lovano does sound really good on some tunes. Swallow's soloing abilities are really amazing as well, and his compositions are great. Another cool feature of this album is the fact that rather than having bullshit liner notes, the tunes are actually printed with the heads and all the chord changes. Its pretty cool because it allows you to see what they are playing as well as hear. This is a great album overall."
A highly pleasing and energetic set by all-star group
Erik Werkman | Utrecht, Netherlands | 08/15/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is my favorite Steve Swallow record up to date. It features Mulgrew Miller on piano, Tom Harrell on trumpet/flugelhorn and Joe Lovano on tenor saxophone and features Jack DeJohnette in blazing form on drums. The tunes are memorable enough, with Thinking Out Loud being my personal favorite, and the whole set makes a very pleasing set of Swallow originals. Ballads & blues, latin based songs, everything FLOWS with everyone playing with enormous joy and ENERGY. The sounds of Tom Harrell and Joe Lovano mix beautifully, Mulgrew Miller shows off his considerable talents as well and Jack DeJohnette makes his pleasure in playing on this record heard. So if you like delightful quintet playing, with good original music and if you are ready for some dynamic drumming, don't hesitate and buy this cd! Make sure your hifi is up to standard, because that is what this music requires, too."