If I only heard Cheek to Cheek I’d want this album! The sax section on the Berlin classic is absolutely phenomenal. They whiz through the complexities of the parts only slightly slower than the speed of light and twice as fast as any big name band’s sax section I’ve ever heard.
Having said that, the rest of the album isn’t half bad either. How could it not be with Ellwood and Benedict, when not training for the saxophone Olympics, blowing killer solos?
On the first five tracks, McKee shows how a trombone should
sound. Askren makes like Metheny on Ant Dance.
Charlie Richard and Jeff Hellmer feature on the quirkily named title track – Hellmer also gives the saxes a brief respite on Cheek to Cheek.
Steve Hawk’s solo on Q’s Hikky Burr
is almost Ellingtonian whilst Bettger’s trumpet on Tom and Jerry,
has nothing to do with the Tom and Jerry in the band nor their cartoon namesakes, but actually refers to Tom Scott and Jerry Hey who, I’m informed, were ubiquitous in the L.A. studios in the 1970s.
The Fotomat Song is subtitled Someday My Prints Will Come – a musician’s joke that is older than old man Kodak himself – nevertheless, it’s still a nice version of Someday My Prince Will Come with fine sliding from McKee, and Benedict on soloing superbly on soprano.
PS: Don’t forget to check out those saxes on Cheek to Cheek but, if you’re a sax player, be sure to put your jaw in a sling to stop it dropping! As it is, my fingers are seizing up just imagining trying to play those parts!
Moonscape; Nardis; The Fotomat Song; The Weather is Here, Wish You Were Beautiful; Armadillo Research; Ant Dance; Cheek to Cheek; The Mighty Dollar; Tom and Jerry; Hikky Burr.
Steve Hawk, Kevin Mayse, Brian Bettger, Tom Tallman (trumpets); Paul McKee, Jacques Voyermant, Alex Henderson, Jerry Armoury; Jeff Benedict (soprano/alto sax), Adrian Williams (alto sax), Ken Foerch, Jeff Ellwood (tenor saxes), Charlie Richard (baritone sax); Jeff Hellmer (piano); Dave Askren (guitar); Jonathan Pintoff (bass); Dean Koba (drums/perc.)