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Frank Macchia: Mo’ Animals

Multiwoodwinds specialist Frank Macchia is also a skilled composer, arranger and orchestrator for film and television. Mo’ Animals is the third album on which he paints convincing musical pictures of members of the animal kingdom through a combination of often unique instrumentation and various musical styles, including jazz, rock and funk. A listener can easily visualize flitting “Hummingbirds,” wallowing “Pigs,” strutting “Chickens,” gliding “Bats” and lumbering “Rhinos” as well as the other five species portrayed.

Macchia plays an array of instruments, often overdubbed, including most of the saxophones, several of the clarinets and flutes, the bass ocarina and synthesizers. Various combinations of trumpets, flutes, electric guitar, banjo, harmonica, synthesizers and human voice over a rhythm section of pianist Billy Childs, bassist Dave Carpenter and drummer Vinnie Colaiuta offer the composer a broad palette.

Aside from its programmatic aspects, Mo’Animals appeals on purely musical grounds. Moods and tempos are diverse, and such elements as form, harmony and rhythm are inventively handled so that the compositions hold the listener’s attention.

Macchia, Childs, harmonica player Howard Levy, trumpeter Wayne Bergeron, trombonist Bruce Fowler and guitarist/banjoist Grant Geissman play strategically placed, well-integrated improvised solos.

Originally Published