Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Guitar Center - OC Weekly

Author's Note: I do not refuse work.

Another Guitar Center is Opening

Orange County has a lot of garages but only a select few of them are used for actually storing cars. Most of them function as what Marc Maron once referred to as the "museum of forgotten hobbies." But for every dusty treadmill or beer brewing kit that lies neglected there are hundreds of determined bands strumming and drumming towards their dreams of stardom. And those bands need equipment. And probably some sound proofing.

Just in time for gift-giving season, Guitar Center will open their newest location at the Block in Orange this weekend. But this isn't just your average music store. This place is looking like the supergranddaddyCostcomegawarehouse of sound.

Aside from offering the usual necessities (instruments, amps, strobe lights, ear plugs) the facility will include a learning center that will offer not only instrument lessons but also recording studio lessons and a space dedicated solely to repairing instruments. (There's no excuse for that 5-string guitar of yours now!)

For their opening weekend blowout, Guitar Center will be offering up a truckload of giveaways, a very slim chance of recording with Travis Barker, discounted lessons (up to 89% off means you don't have to practice as hard) as well as clinics by Guitar Hero's Marcus Henderson (Friday) a music production class with the makers of Pro Tools (Saturday) and a performance by Devo and Puscifer stickman Jeff Friedl (Sunday).

So take advantage of the great musical blowout and do your part to help another generation of hopefuls learn the opening riff to "Smoke on the Water."

Guitar Center @ OC Weekly

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Raunchy Food Blues - OC Weekly

Five Platters of Raunchy Food Blues

As we discovered in an earlier post, many songs about food are mostly about trying to get laid but it would appear for a lot of early blues musicians every song about food was about sex.

Now perhaps it's just my prurient imagination and I'm misinterpreting these great blues classics but when a man sings "I tasted last night, the night before. If I keep this appetite I'm going to taste a little more," he is probably not referring to sitting at the dinner table.

Here are five raunchy blues classics that might inspire you to put on a bib of your own.

Tampa Red, "What is that Tastes Like Gravy"

"Now the gal that let me taste it, they put her in jail but she didn't need nothing to go her bail. She had stuff tastes like gravy and I bet you don't know." Tampa Red, who confusingly made a name for himself in Chicago, not only sang this little ditty but also gave us "Tight Like That" and "Let Me Play With Your Poodle." It is not likely he's singing about putting things on mashed potatoes.

Blind Boy Fuller & Sonny Terry, "I Want Some of Your Pie"

"You got to give me some of it 'fore you give it all away." As a blind, blues-slinging jailbird Fuller had limited options for a career. In just five years in the mid 30s he recorded over 120 songs including this sly ode to a rather popular lady with an assist from fellow blind blues legend Sonny Terry.

Bessie Smith, "Nobody Can Bake A Sweet Jelly Roll Like Mine"

"It's worth lots of dough, the boys tell me so. It's fresh every day, you'll hear 'em all say." The double entendres weren't limited to dirty old men. There was also room for dirty old women. Blues shouter Bessie Smith was one of the most influential early female vocalists and this slow jam proves she could wink and nod as well as any of her male counterparts.

Memphis Minnie, "My Butcher Man"

"Butcher man, in the morning, won't you please stop by my house. I've got enough butcherin' for you to do if you promise me you just only hush your mouth." Memphis Minnie could not only sing but she could wield a mean guitar. Here she makes a convincing argument for shopping local.

Bo Carter, "Banana in your Fruit Basket"

"Now I got the dasher, my baby got the churn. We gonna churn, churn, churn until the butter come." This one is just dirty, dirty, dirty. Carter, born Armenter Chatmon, also gave the world "Your Biscuits are Big Enough for Me" and the less than subtle "Please Warm My Weiner." In retrospect "Banana..." is probably one of his more tasteful tributes.

Five Platters of Raunchy Food Blues @ OC Weekly

Leftover Blues - OC Weekly

Five Songs to Help Defeat the Leftover Blues - OC Weekly

Although Black Friday is known for shopping, it is also known as the beginning of the leftover parade. If you want to make room for non-gravy doused foods in your fridge, you'll need all the help you can get.

Here are five golden oldies that can help lessen the blow of a week's worth of leftovers.

Nick Lowe & Rockpile, "Let's Eat"

"Let's eat! Let's eat! Let's eat!" Impresario and man-about-town Nick Lowe recorded this little ditty with help from professional super-grouper Dave Edmunds in the late 70s. Although they don't celebrate Thanksgiving in England, they do eat food.

The Beach Boys, "Getting' Hungry"

Despite the fact that the Boys are singing about getting hungry for "my kind of woman," it is no secret that in 1967, Brian Wilson was hungry for pretty much anything he could get his hands on.

The Kinks, "Maximum Consumption"

"Don't you know you gotta eat food? Don't you know you gotta refuel?" Although the four members of the Kinks probably weighed less than 500lbs between them, they certainly had a grasp on the importance of eating.

Paul Revere & the Raiders, "Hungry"

"I can almost taste it, baby." Okay, so most songs about hunger are probably just as much about lust. Nonetheless, lead singer Paul Revere Dick (no kidding!) once owned several restaurants in his native Idaho. How's that for credibility?

Paul & Linda McCartney, "Eat At Home"

Although John Lennon's "Cold Turkey" may have been an instinctual choice, that song has nothing to do with refrigerated birds and everything to do with hypodermic needles. But Macca, with the help of his lady Linda, highlights the finer points of both staying at home and eating -- two much more satisfying activities than buying a flat-screen television at 4am.
Defeat the Leftover Blues @ OC Weekly

Friday, November 18, 2011

Great Guitarists with Less Digits - OC Weekly

A Brief History of Great Guitarists with Less Digits - OC Weekly

This Friday and Saturday evening at Segerstrom Hall, guitarist Dorado Schmitt will present an evening dedicated to Django Reinhardt.

In the 1940s Reinhardt created and perfected the "gypsy jazz" genre leaving most anyone else playing that style of music to sit in his immense shadow, performing what amounts to a jazz cover band. Reinhardt's unmistakable drummer-less quintet featured the rhythm guitar work of his brother Joseph and the swinging strings of Stephane Grappelli's violin. Their unique sound laid the foundation for Reinhardt's inimitable acoustic guitar work.

What makes Reinhardt all the more incredible was the fact that he only had three functioning fingers on his left hand. While in his late teens Reinhardt was badly burned during a fire in his home. Although he did not lose his fingers, they were essentially useless. Reinhardt managed to pluck his fluid runs without the use of his middle and ring finger. Few men equipped with all ten of their fingers can create the sounds he made but he was not alone in his handicap.

Jerry Garcia
​Jerry Garcia, epic Grateful Dead noodler and failed heroin hobbyist, was missing the middle finger of his right hand. At the age of four, much like a disinterested Margot Tennebaum, Garcia lost two-thirds of his finger to an axe while holding a piece of wood steady for his older brother. His tender nubbin rarely prevented him from carrying on for hours at a time but perhaps that was his only way of giving the finger to those who objected to his lifestyle.

Tony Iommi
​Black Sabbath riff master Tony Iommi is also missing a few fingerprints. In the most Dickensian way possible he lost the middle and ring fingertips on his right hand to a sheet metal factory at the age of 17. Curiously Iommi plays the guitar left-handed forcing him to wear small caps on his fingertips. Since this happened long before his reign with Black Sabbath it is unlikely to prevent him from sparing us the impending reunion cash-in.

Hound Dog Taylor
​Bonus! To balance out this rather morbid post it is important to recognize blues strummer Hound Dog Taylor. Unlike the aforementioned slingers, Taylor was born with an extra finger on his left hand! Unfortunately this did not result in any super-human strengths or even new chord formations but it did make his paws more memorable than his songs.
Django Reinhardt @ OC Weekly

Lisa Mezzacappa Review - LA Weekly

Lisa Mezzacappa's Bait & Switch
Blue Whale

Better than...trying to play those tunes myself.

Last night, long after many of Little Tokyo's residents had gone to sleep, bassist LIsa Mezzacappa presented her band Bait & Switch to a small but appreciative audience at the Blue Whale. The quartet consisted of the same folks she recorded her award-winning debut with last year: saxophonist Aaron Bennett, guitarist John Finkbeiner and drummer Vijay Anderson.

The band opened with a loping composition that eventually gave way to Bennett's fiery tenor, embodying the switch aspect of the band's name. His breathless jaunts could stop on a dime, often giving way to a more subtle groove before the band devolved into a tempo-less crawl.

The tune that followed, inspired by drumming legend Tony Williams, was also a saxophone feature. With Anderson's cymbal riding alongside Finkbeiner's sputtering guitar, Bennett launched into another jaunt that eventually found him blowing alone, interjecting subtle hard-bop riffs into an otherwise cacophonous assault.

With Mezzacappa and Anderson refraining from any direct solos, all of that work was handled by Finkbeiner and Bennett. Finkbeiner remained the stoic guitarist, summoning fractured phrases from his small axe while Bennett parried with an invisible opponent, fencing his way through Mezzacappa's complicated compositions. There were times when I considered the location of the nearest hospital, should his brain explode in the middle of one of his more breathless passages.

An homage to a South American ant invasion opened and closed with Mezzacappa's otherworldly bowed bass sounds. Her long tones were driven by Finkbeiner's chunky march, before leading to a spidery solo by the axe-man himself.

The only composition not written by Mezzcappa was a performance of an Art Ensemble of Chicago piece that felt old-timey in relation to the rest of the set. The band adopted a laidback strut that included touches of swing and a quieter pulse that was briefly interrupted by another Bennett assault.

The band closed out with a tune that had the subtlest of backbeats and a beautiful bowed bass line supported by the saxophone. A jagged guitar solo led to demure pizzicato riffs from everyone while Anderson's drums clattered like the sound of a thousand fidgety drummers.

By the time the band had finished, the number of paying attendees had quadrupled and everyone in the room had quiet reverence for Mezzacappa's ability to wield the bass and a pen. Her unimposing stage presence only worked to hide her natural command of the four-stringed beast that she would inevitably have to carry down three flights of stairs at the end of the night.

Personal Bias: I like dinner party music.

The Crowd: Wine sippers.

Random Notebook Dump: Perhaps there would have been a bigger crowd had they not been arrested for occupying buildings down the street.

Lisa Mezzacappa Review @ LA Weekly

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Lisa Mezzacappa Preview - LA Weekly

Lisa Mezzacappa Does Not Make Dinner Music

Upright bassist Lisa Mezzacappa has been building a steady reputation in northern California for the last decade. Her nimble basslines and arresting compositions have brought her beyond the Bay Area, where she lives, including a rare tour through Los Angeles. Her band the Bait & Switch performs at Little Tokyo's Blue Whale tonight.

Although she doesn't perform here much, she serves as curator for the Hammer Museum JazzPop series. "That's a good excuse to stay connected to the scene," says Mezzacappa, calling from her home in San Francisco. "Keeping that exchange between the Bay Area and L.A. is important. There is so much wonderful stuff out there beyond New York. It's like, 'Oh my god we have a jazz festival without it being all New Yorkers!'"

That said, Mezzacappa does have some experience in the Big Apple. She grew up in Staten island, before moving out to California for grad school at UC Berkeley. "I was intending to stay only for a little while. Then I got completely pulled into the Bay Area scene."

Part of more than a dozen ensembles, Mezzacappa is finally making waves with her own compositions. Aided by frenetic saxophonist Aaron Bennett and a rhythm section that includes guitarist John Finkbeiner and drummer Vijay Anderson, she released her debut album last year, What is Known, and won the Best Debut award in the Village Voice jazz poll.

"I think it's just nice to be part of a conversation," she says. "But as a New Yorker it was pretty fun to be on that list. I used to wait for that list every year."

The album is definitely not dinner party music. From the first downbeat, the band attacks with a stuttering honk that explodes into elastic guitar lines and relentless drive. The music commands attention, drawing its influences from some of the avant garde slingers of the 1970s, including Terry Riley, Sun Ra and Henry Threadgill.

"I met Henry at UC Berkeley," Mezzacappa says. "I was mostly focused on academia, but after working with him I knew what I wanted to do." But despite all the intellectual heaviness, the band can be funny, too. A propulsive take on Captain Beefheart's "Lick My Decals Off, Baby" could rattle a listener's dental work out if they aren't careful.

Out of the top fifty records on last year's Village Voice poll, only seven of them were led or co-led by women, but Mezzacappa doesn't see this as much of an obstacle. "I feel like it is becoming less and less of an issue," she says. "Now it seems like there is so much more going on and I've gotten more support because of it - playing this crazy instrument in particular. I feel more supported than thwarted."

With that powerhouse band, her compositional chops and an album to back it up, she shouldn't feel any other way.

Lisa Mezzacappa @ LA Weekly

Monday, November 14, 2011

Kenny Burrell 80th Birthday - LA Weekly

Kenny Burrell: 80 Years Young with BB King, Stevie Wonder and more

On Saturday night guitarist and UCLA jazz studies director Kenny Burrell celebrated his 80th birthday alongside his colleagues, his students and some legends at Royce Hall. The concert, which lasted over five hours, saw Burrell working as an emcee, composer, bandleader, soundman, stagehand and, occasionally, guitarist.

The evening opened with a brief set by Burrell's "Jazz Heritage All Stars," a group that included UCLA staffers, including bassist Roberto Miranda, and trombonist George Bohannon, pianist Llew Matthews. The band worked their way through a couple of tight workouts before relinquishing the stage to a frail Lalo Schifrin, who scuttled through a handful of disorienting licks on the piano before being joined by Burrell for a run through their former employer Dizzy Gillespie's "Con Alma." Flashes of Schifrin's Argentinean stride and drummer Clayton Cameron's youthful brushwork redeemed what had been a rather shaky set.

After a few muffled compliments, Schifrin made way for UCLA's vocal ensemble - a 19 piece choir and a very timid rhythm section comprised of a few gangly student instrumentalists. Burrell, ever the master, commanded the group as they sang his lyrics of "helping the little children," providing a brief glimpse of the program's works in progress.

As the choir exited, Burrell enlightened the crowd for ten minutes as the overworked stagehands set up for what would be the highlight of the night. Looking like the Roots crew celebrating Mos Def's 80th birthday, B.B. King and his eight piece band of tuxedoed, eye-patched professionals hit the stage looking to entertain.

Although seated -- and six years older than Burrell -- King who made the evening actually feel like a party. The thrill was there with a boisterous set of crowd pleasers that had the audience giving a standing ovation before King played his first note. Following their solid set, Burrell joined the band for a couple of blues jams, providing a rare opportunity to see two of the most economical guitarists of their genres trade licks.

As if that wasn't enough, Stevie Wonder strode out, unannounced, harmonica in hand, to wish Burrell a happy birthday and enjoy his time on stage as one of the young guns. Naturally Dee Dee Bridgewater had to be a part of the celebration and joined them to improvise some blues lyrics behind the masters' guitars and Wonder's bending chromatics. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity that had the crowd on their feet repeatedly. Unfortunately, then came the intermission.

Following the 55 (!) minute intermission, Burrell returned to fulfill a few of his dreams. With a full jazz orchestra and the UCLA Philharmonia crowding the stage, there were nearly 200 people at Burrell's disposal, many of them stone-faced classical students up way past their bedtime.

The final two hours consisted of newly commissioned pieces both relevant and completely irrelevant to Burrell's birthday. Bridgewater traded some soulful riffs with Burrell on "Soulero" while the man of the honor had nothing to do with Neal Stulberg's "Pax Humana." It was a strange and exhausting set made worse by the fact that the house lights remained on for the second half, making it glaringly obvious how many people had left after the fourth hour and how those who remained were unable to respectfully sleep in peace.

Prior to the show there had been rumblings in the audience about the duration of Burrell's 75th birthday celebration. For his 80th, between the over-programming (the concert should have been spread out over a weekend) and the absurd amount of set-up time required for each new performer, the show went two hours later than scheduled and left many audience members in a daze.

But Burrell still sounds as good as ever. His elegant tone and his ability to not waste a note sounds as great as when he debuted sixty years ago. His boundless enthusiasm and willingness to run everywhere for everyone made me wish I could be at least half as active when I enter my 80th year.

Personal Bias: I stayed awake through all of Kenny Burrell's Ellingtonia classes.

The Crowd: Split evenly between those planning their own 80th birthday party and their 18th.

Random Notebook Dump: Only an 80-year-old man would start a jazz show at 7 at night.

Kenny Burrell @ LA Weekly

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Van Dyke Parks/Inara George - LA Weekly

Van Dyke Parks/Inara George - Getty - 11/5/11 - LA Weekly

Better than...listening to Shelley Duvall sing for an hour and a half.

High above the 405, in a theater as steep as the mountain it's built upon, composer/lyricist/raconteur Van Dyke Parks offered a personal career retrospective. Before a full house of graying beards and fedoras -- and as part of Pacific Standard Time -- Parks was joined by pixie vocalist Inara George for much of the concert, including a complete performance of their 2008 collaboration "An Invitation."

Parks and George were supported by a fourteen piece chamber orchestra that was stocked exclusively with swaying strings and mellow woodwinds. Without the benefit of drums, much of the rhythmic work was carried by Parks' heavy-fisted piano and the lone soloist of the evening, guitarist Grant Geissman. The orchestra was placed on one half of the stage, with Parks loosely conducting from his score-draped piano. George occupied the other half, occasionally supported by three limber dancers in tattered, sleeveless formal wear.

The first half of the performance was as much about George as it was Parks. She stood out among the entirely black-clad orchestra in a white dress with a long train. It had the look of folded wings during her nearly motionless performance. Her impossibly pure soprano was nimbly supported by Parks' unmistakable arrangements of see-sawing violins and syncopated basslines. The delicate tango of "Idaho" was matched by the subdued lust of "Dirty White," which featured a breathtaking (and slightly nerve-wracking) dance that had choreographer Lexi Pearl dangling nearly 40 feet above the stage.

The second half focused on the rest of Parks' career, visiting songs like "The All Golden" from his late-'60s masterwork Song Cycle, and "Orange Crate Art," his mid-'90s collaboration with Brian Wilson. George returned for a few barefoot duets including a close-harmonied "Opportunity for Two." Through it all Parks was as entertaining between songs as he was in the midst of them, touching upon everything from Qantas to Darwinism and referring to the concert itself as "a testament to durable goods."

The encore featured a bouncing performance of the Nilsson-penned, Popeye classic "He Needs Me." George gave a smiling and earnest reading that put Shelley Duval to shame.

Impressively, the orchestra only had one rehearsal and had never played any of the evening's repertoire before an audience. Clearly the group had been loaded with ringers, though, because they ebbed and flowed effortlessly, responding to every one of Parks' hasty gestures with amazing precision. At 68, Parks still has the energy of a schoolboy, even kneeling and bowing towards the end of his concert in one of countless humble acknowledgements of the audience. It was an excellent performance by an unsung master of popular song whose way with words is as sharp as ever.

Personal Bias: "Columnated ruins domino" is one of the greatest song lyrics ever.

The Crowd: Out of 600 seats, seemingly the great majority were on the guest list.

Random Notebook Dump: Eric Idle held the men's room door open for me.

Van Dyke/Inara @ LA Weekly

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Beach Boys' Tour of Hawthorne - LA Weekly

The Beach Boys' Hawthorne

​Today Capitol Records releases one of the greatest lost albums of all time -- the Beach Boys' Smile. Brian Wilson intended this "teenage symphony to God" as a follow-up to Pet Sounds and countless tapes were recorded. But owing to a hazy blitz of paranoia and group in-fighting, the work has never seen official release until now. (Although Wilson re-recorded a solo version of Smile five years ago, this new box set features the rest of the group, and the original recordings.)

But allow us to go back in time. Before they broke big, the Beach Boys were just a clean-cut bunch of boys from the tiny suburb of Hawthorne, California, a tract home community that connects the South Bay, South Central and the Westside. Brian Wilson and his brothers, Carl and Dennis, lived there until their teens, shaping many of the suburban fantasies that would make them a household name. On the occasion of the unearthing of their lost classic, here's our tour of spots in the town that loom large in Beach Boys lore.

​Hawthorne High School
4859 West El Segundo Boulevard

Long before they recorded songs by Charles Manson, the Beach Boys stressed the importance of being "true to your school." Hawthorne High educated all three Wilson brothers as well as Al Jardine. The band lived up to their commitment by returning to perform for the school prom in 1969.

​Fosters Freeze
11969 Hawthorne Boulevard

This small hamburger stand on Hawthorne Boulevard was a regular hang-out for the Wilson family. It was amid the ketchup-stained picnic tables that the boys saw the T-bird they would lust over in "Fun, Fun, Fun." It is unclear though where they first heard the Chuck Berry riff they would marry it to.

Pizza Show
13344 Hawthorne Boulevard

It is unlikely that Pizza Show has changed a single fixture since opening 55 years ago. With murals of Italian villas, cozy booths and a walk-up window, the restaurant has been one of the few constants in an evolving town. Brian often ate here.

​Beach Boys Historical Landmark
3701 West 119th Street

Out of the nearly 1050 historical landmarks scattered across California, only one of them was erected in the name of rock n' roll. California historical landmark #1041 roughly marks the spot where the Wilson brothers grew up. (Their house was demolished to make way for the 105 freeway.) The spot is six miles from the ocean, and it commemorates hardship as much as success because the three brothers spent most of their time their cowering from their tyrant father. Still, it is where, on Labor Day weekend 1961, the boys recorded their first song, "Surfin'," along with cousin Mike Love and friend Al Jardine.

​The sculpture on the landmark is an homage to the band's Surfer Girl album. It depicts both original member David Marks and Al Jardine, even though Jardine is not in the original photo. Although the Beach Boys famously declared "everybody's going surfing" only Dennis had any interest in even putting a toe into the Pacific.

​The landmark was erected in 2005 with help from public donations and the extended Beach Boys family. Brian Wilson not only attended the unveiling but also performed. Mike Love was noticeably absent.

Beach Boys @ LA Weekly

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Blanchard & Sanchez - NYC Jazz Record

Terence Blanchard & Poncho Sanchez - Chano y Dizzy!

Chano Pozo passed away at the age of 33 over 60 years
ago but his legacy as a conguero is still strong today.
Despite his brief tenure with Dizzy Gillespie, Pozo’s
influence on the bebop trumpeter was immeasurable,
resulting in a fascination with Cuban rhythms that
would last a lifetime and influence countless other
musicians. For his new album, percussionist Poncho
Sanchez has brought in trumpeter Terence Blanchard
not necessarily to fill Dizzy’s shoes but certainly wear
them for an hour and pay homage to their brief but
pioneering partnership. Thankfully Blanchard does
not often reach for the Gillespie pyrotechnics but
instead focuses on honoring the tunes and legacy in his
own more economical style.

The album opens with a medley of Gillespieassociated,
Pozo-penned tunes: “Tin Tin Deo”,
“Manteca” and “Guachi Guaro”. Sanchez’ vocals and
Blanchard’s trumpet dance around each other before
the full band jumps in with forceful montunos and a
wall of percussion. “Con Alma” and the Blanchardpenned
“Wandering Wonder” find the trumpeter
hopping around the changes before giving way to
Sanchez’ grizzled palms while “Siboney” displays
Blanchard’s drippy take on the cha-cha until the band
joins in with an upbeat chanting of the title. Bop
standard “Groovin’ High” gets a medium tempo and
infectious rhythmic battle that closes by summoning
the ghost of another trumpeter, Miles Davis, with a
short riff on “Four”. The album closes with Pozo’s
“Arinanara” - an upbeat tune that can’t help but fill the
dancefloor. Sanchez and bassist Tony Banda’s vocals
propel the intro into an all-out percussive assault over
which Blanchard blares with ease.

Sanchez is a prolific bandleader who never slows
down. His infectious rhythms are on full display with
this recording, a charming homage to a vital jazz

Blanchard & Sanchez @ NYC Jazz Record

Junior Mance - NYC Jazz Record

Junior Mance Quintet - Letter From Home

Pianist Junior Mance can trace his career back to the
late ‘40s playing alongside Gene Ammons. His soulful
hands have accompanied everyone from Lester Young
to Buddy Guy. Mance has been swinging weekly at
Greenwich Village’s CafĂ© Loup for the last few years.
The crowd can vary wildly from pin-drop attention to
cackling oblivion but Mance’s swinging blues always
purrs alongside tasteful bassist Hide Tanaka. Once a
month Mance gets to bring in a full band and Letter
From Home documents a quintet before an appreciative

The band jumps out of the gate with an uptempo
6/8 strut called “Holy Mama” - the first of three tunes
to stretch over ten minutes, capturing the free-blowing
nature of the gig. Everyone chimes in with a few
choruses, Mance contributing an elegant, two-fisted
bout that shows why he is the boss. A dirge-y “Home
on the Range” finds Mance strolling solo before the
band kicks in with a throaty turn through that campfire
classic. The stop-start “Jubilation” and title song find
the horns in tight unison with tenor saxophonist Ryan
Anselmi wailing recklessly over the hard-driving
band. The dual saxophone lineup tackles Mance’s
compositions with just the right amount of soul-jazz
vigor, Andrew Hadro’s baritone proving a great
guttural counterpoint to Tanaka’s confident bass lines.
The album closes with an Ellington medley that
consists only of “Sunset and the Mockingbird” and “A
Flower is a Lovesome Thing”. The quintet slowly
rumbles through the two tunes, barely tying them
together with a lulled decrescendo.

Mance is a legend who is perhaps neglected
because he is so easily accessible. His refined touch is a
direct link to a history of long-passed pioneers. He
carries that flame well and this recording is a fine
example of his years of swinging experience.

Junior Mance @ NYC Jazz Record