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Jon Faddis

Review By Karl Lozier
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Jon Faddis Remembrances

SACD Number: Chesky CD/SACD 256


  Are there any listeners out there bemoaning the lack of really good music, beautifully played and sympathetically recorded? You say you would like a good-sized group that is listenable and entertaining instead of each member trying to outdo the other. Well, with this hybrid disc, playable on any CD or SACD player, Chesky is giving you exactly what you want and maybe just a bit more. Jon Faddis, well known trumpet player,
though not quite as well known as Dizzy Gillespie, often sounds reminiscent of the much older Dizzy. Here he is leading an extremely talented group of real pros. Recorded over a three-day period at St. Peter's Episcopal Church in New York City, a total of fifteen musicians are heard on this release. Evidently a half dozen of them were in all three days' sessions and the others joined them for one or two days as schedules permitted. It appears and sounds like most tracks have between nine and a dozen performers and no vocalist. The performances are simply excellent and at moderate sound levels the overall effect is relaxing.

Adding to the enjoyment is the fact that all the songs are arranged by the same person, Carlos Franzetti. I have heard a number of very low-key arrangements of "Laura" as here, but the sophisticated arrangement of "Sophisticated Lady" is the most subtle that my memory was able to serve up on short notice. Though not heard on every track, I am going to list most of the instruments used in these sessions. Soprano, Alto, Tenor and Baritone Saxes, Flugel Horn, Piano, Bass, Drums, Flute, Oboe, English and French Horns, regular and Bass Clarinet and so on. Seems more like a symphony orchestra minus the strings! The playing is beyond reproach and the arranger often, but not always, seems to take advantage of the palette of sounds at his disposal. Listen very closely to the first couple of minutes of Guastavino's song "La Rosa y El Sauce" and see how many different instruments you can pick out of the beautifully arranged mix.

Cool or soft jazz are probably better descriptions than easy listening jazz. The title of Remembrances could easily accommodate some soft flattering adjectives. To add to the overall listening experience, the engineers and probably the Chesky brothers, decided to "back off" a bit, placing you, the listener, just a bit further back than is typical nowadays. Call it a relaxing distance. That may reduce, wrongly in my opinion, the number of accolades the audio quality may receive. I shall beg to differ, for the perspective chosen, the sound quality approaches being unbeatable! If you like to sit on the front row at band concerts you will be disappointed but relaxingly so. The multichannel layer adds a very nice and rather subtle touch of ambiance, not overblown or exaggerated, and in keeping with the overall character of this fine release.




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