MICA BETHEA — Stage 'N Studio

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MICA BETHEA - Stage 'N Studio cover
4.00 | 1 rating | 1 review
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Album · 2017

Filed under Big Band


1-1 Hang Up Your Hang Ups
1-2 Jonesin' For Thad
1-3 Tenderly
1-4 Frahm Out Of Nowhere
1-5 Coal
1-6 Our Love Is Here To Stay
1-7 Birth Rite
1-8 Wind Warriors
2-1 Hang Up Your Hang Ups
2-2 Jonesin' For Thad
2-3 Birth Rite
2-4 Frahm Out Of Nowhere
2-5 Self Defense
2-6 Stormy Weather
2-7 Just Friends
2-8 Our Love Is Here To Stay
2-9 Coal


CD 1 (Studio)

- Greg Balut / trumpet
- Ray Callender / trumpet
- Jay Forman / trumpet (1,3,4,8)
- Dave Champagne / trumpet (1,3,4,8)
- Jonathan Ward / trumpet (2,5,6,7)
- Robert Vandiver / trumpet (2,5,6,7)
- Ryan Bricknell / trombone
- Corey Wilcox / trombone
- Lance Reed / trombone
- Michael Nunez / trombone (1,3,4,8)
- Gina "Badeeduh" Benalcazar / bass trombone
- Todd DelGiudice / alto sax, soprano sax, flute, clarinet

to be continued ...

About this release

self release

Thanks to snobb for the addition and js for the updates


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The days of traveling big bands going from town to town and entertaining dancing patrons passed long ago, but in the last couple decades, big bands have been making a comeback as a vehicle for composer/arrangers to display what they can do with tone color and part arranging to achieve music that can not be done with a smaller ensemble. This leads us to Mica Bethea, an ambitious composer/arranger who works out of the University of North Florida in Jacksonville. Maybe its because Mica isn’t associated with NYC that his name is not as well known yet, but his new CD, “Stage ‘n Studio”, should help change that. This is an excellent modern big band recording with complex music that is both challenging, but also loads of fun too. Not only is Mica a top notch arranger for pieces by well known composers such as Herbie Hancock, Harold Arlen and George Gershwin, but his original compositions are often better than the aforementioned better known composers.

“Stage n’ Studio’ is a tale of two CDs in one package. CD one consists of eight tunes recorded in the studio, while CD two contains many of the same tunes, plus a couple different ones, recorded live. For my money, I think the live CD is the stronger of the two, not only is the playing more loose and energetic, but even the sound mix and production have a stronger congruence than CD one. The tunes on the two CDs are roughly 80% the same, but once again, where there are differences, the choice of tunes on CD two is better. The range of music on here is varied from fusion to bop, plus a couple ballads as well. Bethea sites Gil Evans, Bob Brookmeyer, Thad Jones and Maria Schneider as influences, and you can hear all that, plus on “Frahm out of Nowhere” you can hear a hard driving Quincy Jones TV theme effect, and that is most definitely a complement. Other top tracks include, “Birth Rite”, a beautiful Bethea original ballad that shows the Gil Evans influence, as well as a taste of French composers like Maurice Ravel. The arrangement of Herbie’s well known funk classic “Hang Up Your Hang Ups” is a total gas, excellent music to crank up in the car as you beat the traffic. “Jonesin for Thad” is another top notch Micah original that swings like crazy as complex horn lines intersect in a tribute to the arranging style of Thad Jones.

I can’t say enough good things about this CD, this is very exciting music and highly recommended for fans of modern big band. Give Micah a chance to engage your ears (and dancing feets), I don’t think you will be disappointed.

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