With over 1.3 million non-profit organizations in the United States with the goal of making a real difference in their communities and society as a whole, it is nice to hear a group from the music community give their two notes to the overall fabric. As a jazz musician and a physician there's nothing more rewarding than knowing your work will touch, help and inspire people, because when music helps an organization engage people, good things happen! It's a true win-win proposition - organizations benefit from the support the music brings and the artists benefit from the visibility to the organizations base of supporters. The mission of Muckenthaler Cultural Center in Southern California is to provide the public with experiences that stimulate creativity and imagination, while conserving the heritage and architecture of the Muckenthaler Estate. The Muckenthaler Cultural Center offers extraordinary exhibitions, performances and engaging educational programs to Orange County’s diverse communities and beyond. Two musicians have compiled a team that is focusing on combining a cause and music. Eric Fütterer, Founding Producer of the Muckenthaler Jazz Festival, a voice teacher, composer, lyricist and author has joined with Glenn Cashman, a bi-coastal dweller, spending his time between upstate NY and Southern California. A visible presence on the SoCal jazz scene, Cashman leads a nonet, a quartet, is an Associate Professor of Music at Colgate University, Hamilton NY. and Founding Artistic Director - Muckenthaler Jazz Festival.
Fütterer describes how the project came to be, “Why produce a Jazz recording with the Muck? The answer is the inertia of a chance meeting. More than ten years ago, when relocating to California to head the jazz program at CSU, Fullerton, Glenn Cashman and I were simultaneously out and about viewing dwelling spaces. We arrived at the same place at the same time, struck up a conversation and became fast friends. I began to invite Glenn to play on industrial, commercial and demo recordings I was writing, composing and producing. What a brilliant player he was/is! At the time I was on a kick to get to know Fullerton in a more social way. Since I had raised my children there, I decided it was time for some payback. I began attending charitable events and discovered the Muck. I found the facility to be charming, unique and special. They had an intimate amphitheater perfectly suited to Jazz performances. And all of that was the stunning gift the Muckenthaler family had given to the local citizenry. After the idea germinated, I proposed to Glenn that we create and produce a Jazz Festival there. He agreed and we asked jazz venue pioneer, and former Stan Kenton Orchestra member, Howard Rumsey to advise us. Eight now-sold-out seasons later, we asked ourselves what was next. With the concerts, we have strived not only to host a more Straight Ahead genre, but also to honor the quality and spirit of the Muckenthalers’ gift by inviting only the highest possible caliber of players to concertize there. Following that mission and purpose we now wish to distribute the good news farther afield. The actual music recorded here represents Glenn Cashman’s composing and arranging abilities to be of the highest possible order. And as a bandleader and player, combined with the brilliance of the full band represented herein, I believe this recording fulfills that requirement. Also, please understand this recording was funded with donations from those who have become believers in our cause through concert attendance! We wish to thank them, honor their generous spirits, and multiply their gifts by sharing the proceeds from this recording with the Muckenthaler Cultural Center and with Doctors Without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières). We also wish to thank you for your support. We believe in the universal appeal of having given your best effort and sharing it. Combining all of the above thoughts with the international interest in Jazz Music we entitled this recording Music Without Borders.” CD Dedicated to West Coast Jazz Pioneer and former bassist/leader of the Lighthouse All-Stars HOWARD RUMSEY.
I felt this messaging was so important I could not leave a word of it out of this review, now onto the music. The nonet presents ten songs, three compositions are written by Fütterer and Cashman penned the other seven and arranged all ten songs. The nonet is comprised of three brass, three reeds and a rhythm section and the music is original and mostly hard-swinging, well-orchestrated and energetic. Carl Saunders and Ron Stout are on trumpet and flugelhorn with Andy Martin on trombone; Bruce Babad is on alto sax, Cashman is on tenor and Bob Efford is on Bari. The rhythm section is Ed Czach on piano, Luther Hughes on bass and Paul Kreibich is on drums.
“I’ve Got Your Rhythm” starts the CD with a joyful melody through the standard ‘Rhythm Changes’ and form. Cashman has the woodwinds state the bobish melody with the brass providing padding and stabs for the first A section. The second A finds the brass in a counterpoint role with a long flowing melody that leads to the B section. Cashman does an outstanding job of making each three horn section sound like the traditional 5 and 5 sections. The B mixes the sections in a call and response pattern which takes us back to the A melody with nice mix of counterpoint and well placed hits. Cashman’s tenor takes the first solo, methodically developing each phrase over the swinging pulse laid down by Czach, Hughes and Kreibich. Babad takes the second solo, building and keeping the energy moving forward. Cashman’s written background parts do a great job of helping build each solo. Cashman shows his writing chops for two A sections with an excellent shout section; lots of well played tutti sections, hits and flowing counterpoint. The B is a series of tight hits with fills from Kreibich’s drum set. The last has more ensemble work and takes us to the recap and ending.
Fütterer’s “Carnaval” is given a great arrangement by Cashman. It is a wise decision on Fütterer’s part to let the full time bandleader that knows his players sound and unique abilities to handle the particulars of the arrangement and the result is highly successful, showcasing the beauty of Fütterer’s writing. The “Carnaval” gets going with a series of descending figures filled with drums that leads to a mid tempo samba. The happy melody is again treated with just the right amount of counterpoint and hits. Efford’s bari takes the first solo with a nice muted trumpet background part. Cashman gives us an energetic stabbing tutti interlude that the ensemble performs flawlessly giving way to fluid trumpet solo by Saunders. Kreibich’s melodic drum solo leads us back to the opening figure and out.
Each one of these selections are top shelf, the CD has a great flow and a wonderful cause, with a portion of the proceeds going to support Doctors Without Borders. This is a carryover CD from last year, but if you missed it, be sure to take the time to do your part for a good cause and receive some great music.
Players: Cal Saunders, Trumpet/Flugelhorn; Ron Stout, Trumpet/Flugelhorn; Andy Martin, Trombone; Bruce Babad, alto sax; Glenn Cashman, tenor sax; Bob Efford, bari sax; Ed Czach, piano; Luther Hughes, bass; Paul Kreibich, drums/percussion.
Tracks: I’ve Got Rhythm, Vida Feliz, Fall Color, I will Always Wait For You, Carnaval, Sumo, What Dolphis Say, Bailey Street, Corazon, Cadenzas for Cadenas.
H. Allen Williams
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