MIKE SPINRAD — Mike Spinrad with Guido Fazio : Horns (review)

MIKE SPINRAD — Mike Spinrad with Guido Fazio : Horns album cover Album · 2018 · Soul Jazz Buy this album from MMA partners
3.5/5 ·
Mike Spinrad is a drummer in San Francisco who also writes original music and “Horns’ is his second CD release as a band leader. For this new project Spinrad decided to work with a horn led band, hence the title of the album. To help with this endeavor he enlisted tenor and flute player Guido Fazio, who supplies much of the horn arrangements as well as many stellar solos, plus Richard Conway on trumpet and flugelhorn, and on all but two cuts, Larry Stewart on baritone. Rounding out the band are Don Turney on piano and occasional B3, plus a rotating cast of talented bass players. On first impression, “Horns” recalls classic horn driven soul jazz artists such as David “Fathead” Newman, or the Adderly Brothers, but this album is much more than just that, with further listens you will start to hear the variety of styles that Spinrad is working with, plus his own original and modern nuances that he brings to these compositions and arrangements.

The album opens with the hard bop waltz of “Smarbar”, which is followed by the boogaloo funk of “Bette ‘n Hy”. Starting with track three, the hard driving bop of “Chaim”, Larry Stewart joins the band on baritone, which gives the rest of the cuts on the album a mini big band sound, plus a little extra boost in energy. “Shelia” is the ballad as it supplies the desired abstract pastel colors of today’s post bop sound. This track bears some resemblance to “All the Things You are Here”, especially towards the end of the song. On “Raul”, the band heads into Afro-Cuban territory while pianist Don Turney displays his skills with a driving rhythmic montuno that keeps the tune on time. Finishing up the CD, “Brooke” is a re-working of bop favorite “Cherokee”, “Manny” is California style Latin soul cha-cha, and “Texarkana” is up tempo swing blues.

This CD has grown on me over the past couple weeks, despite the immediate familiarity of many of the tracks, this album holds up well to repeat listens. What we have on “Horns” is very unpretentious party jazz executed with originality and freshness, while avoiding the predictable clichés.
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