The FOURTH installment of Carl Saunders’ New Jazz Standards…
Larry Koonse, Guitar
Josh Nelson, Piano
Tom Warrington, Bass
Joe LaBarbera, Drums
Its not a stretch to see how a great improviser can also be a great composer. After all an improviser is using the same compositional elements as a composer in real time. What is amazing in terms of Carl Saunders’ compositional world is that there is such a huge range of musical offerings. There is the lyrical “A Ballad for Now”, the dark and surreal (“Dark Blanket”), the humorous (“Baby Blues”), the nod to Jobim and Bill Evans (“A Poor Man’s Mr. Evans”), the traditional song with twists (“DoBeDoBeDo”), and the harmonically sophisticated (“Another Side of Her”). Each a beautifully crafted gem.
To help Koonse to fully realize these lyrical yet tricky puzzles created by Saunders, he immediately contacted his dear friend Josh Nelson. Josh is a musician that is always thinking orchestrationally and is more than willing to not use all ten fingers when the moment calls for it. Great listener, supportive accompanist, brilliant harmonic mind …… They got together in one long session and thought of ways to bring out the character of each piece within the limits of a guitar/piano based quartet w/ life-long friends Tom Warrington and Joe La Barbera. Both consummate musicians who Koonse has a long track record with and always play from the perspective of “what does this musical moment need now” as opposed to “look at me now”.
Extremely accessible and enjoyable…
JUST LIKE THE FIRST THREE in the Series:
New Jazz Standards – Sam Most
New Jazz Standards Vol 2 – Scott Whitfield
Jazz Standards Vol 3 – Roger Kellaway Trio
LARRY KOONSE/New Jazz Standards v. 4: This 4th volume of the explorations of Carl Saunders 300 deep songbook finds Koonse in the lead chair even though Josh Nelson isn’t far behind and a couple of other stalwarts bring the rhythm. If you don’t know the tunes, it doesn’t matter. The crew makes them all their own and this is a delightfully swinging and bopping set. Solid Friday night/weekend jazz, the main thing here is pros on parade having a great time—as you will too. Check it out.
-MIDWEST RECORD by Chris Spector
This fourth volume in a series of recordings saluting and promoting the music of trumpeter Carl Saunders is every bit as sophisticated and attractive as its predecessors. Guitarist Larry Koonse leads the way through a dozen songs with supreme style and grace, comfortably placing this collection right next to earlier Saunders sets helmed by flutist Sam Most, trombonist Scott Whitfield, and pianist Roger Kellaway.
Koonse, fronting a first-rate quartet filled out by pianist Josh Nelson, bassist Tom Warrington, and drummer Joe LaBarbera, is in prime form throughout. Relaxed and focused all at once, he brings depth and clarity to these compositions while highlighting a synergy between sympathetic souls. Opening on the rhythmically-hinged “Flim Flam,” this crew immediately finds its collective footing by making the hits and turning toward swing. Then “A Poor Man’s Mister Evans” makes an appearance, highlighting the chemistry between Koonse and Nelson while saluting Bill Evans.
From there, many an angle of Saunders’ work is given its due. The chipper side of his personality comes to the fore on “Do Be Do Be Do” and “Admired.” Lyrical quietude wins out on “A Ballad For Now” and the calmly waltzing “Another Side Of Her.” Explorations of an essential form and color give shape to “Baby Blues” and “Could Be The Blues.” And straight-eighth sway catches the breeze and the ear on “Speaking Softly.” No matter the matter, Koonse and company rise to the occasion. When you place this man’s guitar and bandmates against Saunders’ music, it’s simply class on class.
Track Listing: Flim Flam; A Poor Man’s Mister Evans; Do Be Do Be Do; A Ballad For Now; Admired; Another Side Of Her; Baby Blues; Speaking Softly; Diddy Bop; Hipnicity; Dark Blanket; Could Be The Blues.
Personnel: Larry Koonse: guitar; Josh Nelson: piano; Tom Warrington: bass; Joe LaBarbera: drums.
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