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MP3 Alan Hood - Just A Little Taste
A tribute to the "Golden Age" of instrumental writing with lush orchestral accompaniment, this new CD features trumpeter Al Hood and the arranging talents of Dave Hanson performing seven jazz standards and five originals with a compliment of strings.
12 MP3 Songs in this album (66:19) !
Related styles: JAZZ: Orchestral Jazz, EASY LISTENING: American Popular Song
People who are interested in Lee Morgan Clifford Brown Chris Botti should consider this download.
Positive and uplifting, "Just A Little Taste" pays tribute to the "Golden Age" of instrumental writing with lush orchestral accompaniment. Trumpeter Al Hood and arranger Dave Hanson offer up seven jazz standards and five original works set for trumpet, strings, winds and rhythm section. Hanson has captured this nostalgic era with his writing and orchestrations and managed to add a great deal of freshness to the art form! The selections are some of my favorite melodies. Two of them pay homage to my main trumpet influences - Clifford Brown and Lee Morgan - and you will surely hear nods to some of my other favorites throughout the CD. I am also honored to showcase original music by Pete Olstad and Dave Hanson.
One of my college professors once compared arranging to cooking. Just as a master chef creates his own version of a casserole by adding his own combination of spices and extra ingredients, an arranger creates his version of a song by adding his own stylistic influences and varying the instrumentation. Of course, the comparison also applies to jazz musicians in general, as most players create their own musical voice by combining the basic ingredients of their greatest influences with unique conceptions of their own invention.
So, if the title of this CD, “Just A Little Taste” makes you think of a large buffet with lots of food and drink to sample, listening to the CD will confirm that impression. While this is an album featuring jazz trumpet in front of a string orchestra, there is a great deal of variety amongst the selections (and more than is usually heard in jazz/string albums). In creating this album, trumpeter Al Hood and pianist/arranger Dave Hanson wanted to pay tribute to a wide range of musical influences without directly copying any of them.
It’s quite appropriate that this CD starts off with a tribute to Clifford Brown. Al was the chief researcher on Nick Catalano’s biography of Clifford, and part of Al’s website is dedicated to his collection of Brownie memorabilia. Yet on trumpet, Al is no Brownie clone. His playing on Benny Golson’s I Remember Clifford shows a wide range of trumpet influences from Louis Armstrong to Kenny Wheeler. Hanson’s arrangement borrows its style from the studio orchestra sound of the 1950s, and the contrast between the orchestration and Al’s trumpet is as effective as Neal Hefti’s arrangements for the album “Clifford Brown With Strings.”
Pure Imagination is from the movie “Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory” and it has gradually eclipsed “The Candy Man” as the most famous song from that score. Al says it’s been one of his favorite songs for years, which is clear from the joyous performance heard here. Hanson takes a brief piano spot between Al’s extended solos.
It’s Only Everything was composed by fellow trumpeter Pete Olstad, who like Hanson and the undersigned, spent several of his formative years at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley. The melody has a melancholy tone which seems to cry out for the right lyrics. Hanson’s lovely arrangement features a tasty introduction of the instruments at the outset and a graceful counter-melody in the strings during the melody chorus. Later, when it sounds as if the whole arrangement is wrapping up, Hanson gives the orchestra a variation of its own before Al returns with the melody. On the coda, Al plays a solo over a vamp and a lush orchestral background. Eventually, the orchestra and Al yield to Dave, whose piano solo gradually fades into silence.
Written for Shirley Horn, Here’s To Life is one of the best songs composed in the last 20 years. In addition to Shirley’s recording with Johnny Mandel’s orchestra, the song was also recorded by Joe Williams with Robert Farnon’s orchestra. Both arrangers are high on Hanson’s list of influences, and it’s good to hear the song again after its two best interpreters have passed on. Here, the vocalist is Al’s brother Steve Hood, appearing in his first endeavor as a jazz singer. He sings the words with great passion, backed by Al’s Harmon-muted trumpet and Hanson’s lush arrangement.
With the devastation from Hurricane Katrina, Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans has gained deeper meaning than its composers intended. The eerie string writing behind Al in the opening 8 bars of the melody gives way to a solemn New Orleans dirge featuring guest Rich Chiaraluce’s authentic—and too-rarely heard—clarinet (Drummer Todd Reid, who offers superb support throughout the album, is in exceptional form behind Chiaraluce.) Starting with Al’s reentry, the arrangement builds to an ecstatic climax and then to a dramatic rubato ending, seeming to say that New Orleans will return to its former glory, but there is still a long way to travel before the goal is reached.
Chiaraluce returns—this time on alto sax—for Just A Little Taste, a boppish Hanson original based on “The Days Of Wine & Roses”. Hood and French hornist Susan McCullough multi-tracked their parts to create the illusion of a big band. Dig Al’s marvelous “ensemble” chorus—one of the highlights of the album!
In The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning is forever linked with Frank Sinatra’s classic recording with Nelson Riddle’s orchestra. Both Al & Dave cited the Sinatra recording as a favorite. Al “sings” beautifully through his flugelhorn, and Dave creates an evocative late-night sound with the orchestra.
Lee Morgan was another trumpet hero of Al’s, and Al says that Morgan may have been a bigger influence on his trumpet style than Clifford Brown. There’s little doubt of Al’s allegiances to both Brown and Morgan in his wonderfully-constructed solo on Ceora. Hanson turns in another superb arrangement here with a splendid rubato section by the horns and an orchestral variation which appears at the recapitulation. Also, notice Hanson’s counterpoint, which enhances the horn parts without diverting attention away from the melody. While Hood’s solo is clearly a standout, both Chiaraluce (on tenor) and Hanson offer marvelous bop solos of their own.
Next up are two Hanson originals, Pastoral Blue and Habanera For Kyrie. The former combines a 20th century style reminiscent of Vaughan Williams with the avant-garde sound of Al’s trumpet. While the orchestra parts could conceivably stand on their own, the trumpet adds a new dimension to the work, complimenting and contrasting the accompaniment at the same time. Habanera started as a piano improvisation in the Cuban musical form which eventually morphed into an Argentinean tango. Dave planned to cut the tango until Al encouraged him to develop the idea. As for the title, Kyrie is Al’s daughter.
Hanson’s introduction to If I Loved You displays another quality of this disc: the easy flow of styles from one track to another. The style of the intro sounds like it might belong in either of the two previous cuts. Yet, soon after Al’s entrance, there is a subtle change in style that makes the string parts fit perfectly with Richard Rodgers’ melody. Most of the credit goes to Hanson for this, but the expert sequencing of the tunes on this CD unifies the music into a cohesive whole.
The album closer, Nostalgic Blues is another transcription of an improvisation, this time a duo jam by Al and Dave. Starting with just the two principals and adding the orchestra little by little, Al’s soulful trumpet solo builds steadily to an effective peak and then lets off the steam right before bassist Ken Walker’s finely-crafted solo. Al finishes off the album with a superb cadenza and a final comment over the last chord.
When Al first asked Dave to write the arrangements for this album, Dave e-mailed part of what became the title track. The tune had no title at the time, and Dave wrote “Just A Little Taste” in the subject line. The e-mail subject became the title of the tune, and eventually, the title of the album. Further, the “little taste” did what it was intended to do: whet the appetite for more. We can hope for further collaborations by Al Hood and Dave Hanson, but in the meantime, “Just A Little Taste” is as tasty as it gets.
Al Hood is Associate Professor of Trumpet at the University of Denver Lamont School of Music where he mentors the trumpet studio and coaches the Lamont Jazz Ensemble. He has toured the world with the Phil Collins Big Band and has performed alongside greats such as Doc Severinsen, Wynton Marsalis, Ray Charles, Clark Terry, and Curtis Fuller, to name a few. He performs regularly with the Denver Brass and Ken Walker Sextet and gives clinics around the country. He hosts and serves on the faculty of the annual Rafael Mendéz Brass Institute, featuring the Summit Brass, and is well known for his research of trumpeter Clifford Brown.
Dave Hanson is a composer, arranger, pianist, and teacher living and working in Denver, Colorado. His compositions and arrangements for artists such as Paul Winter, Steve Houghton, and Jamie Davis have been performed by symphony orchestras and jazz ensembles around the world. He studied arranging with Ray Wright and Manny Albam at the Eastman Arrangers Labs in the 1980’s, and received a NEA Grant in Jazz Composition. He currently is a member of the jazz faculty of the University of Denver Lamont School of Music.
Al Hood - Trumpet & Flugelhorn
Dave Hanson - Piano, Synthesizer, Arranger & Conductor
Ken Walker - Bass (except track 9)
Todd Reid - Drums (except track 9)
Pam Endsley - Flute
Lisa Martin - Oboe
Susan McCullough - Horn
Claude Sim - Concertmaster
Violins: Larisa Fesmire, John Hilton, Karen Kinzie, Rachel Segal, David Waldman, Bradley Watson
Violas: Catherine Beeson, Basil Vendryes
Celli: Kitty Knight, Rich Slavich
Bass: John Arnesen (track 9)
Steve Avedis - Tracking, Editing & Mixing
J.P. Manza - Tracking and Mixing
Jesse O''Brien - Assistant Engineer
Tom Capek - Mastering
Special Thanks to: Kevin Clock (Owner & Manager) and Tammy Baretta (Office Manager)
Producers: Al Hood & Dave Hanson
Graphic Design: Todd Reid, ntegrity design
CD Production: Disc Makers
Recorded at Colorado Sound Recording Studios, Westminster, CO April 3rd, 24th, May 12th, 13th and 25th
Al Hood is a Conn-Selmer, Inc. performing artist and plays exclusively on Conn Vintage One Trumpets and Flugelhorns
This project is funded in part by a Professional Research Opportunities for Faculty (PROF) Grant and a Creative Arts & Materials Fund (CAMF) Grant from the University of Denver. I wish to thank the Denver University Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences Division (AHSS) for their kind support.