Highly Recommended Jazz Album Review: HUBUB! (Ted Kooshian)

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by Tony Frankel on October 2, 2022

in Music,Theater-San Francisco / Bay Area


I just returned from the 2022 Monerey Jazz Festival, and as you can guess the players were magnificent. Not so the compositions, though. Highly experimental is great; after all, that’s what makes jazz, well, jazz. But much of the weekend was fusion, ya know jazz harmony and improvisation with rock music, funk, and rhythm, but so repetitive and melodically abstruse. When vocalist Samara Joy hit the stage, the 22-year-old had throngs magnetized to the stage with appealing tunes, charm and downright fun.

I mention this because I just took pianist-composer Ted Kooshian‘s fifth album, Hubub! for a spin, and felt uplifted for all eleven tracks. Available October 7, 2022 via Summit Records, the album features Kooshian with trumpeter John Bailey, saxophonist Jeff Lederer, bassist Dick Sarpola and drummer Greg JosephIt’s his first album of mainly original music since his acclaimed 2004 debut. The CD release party is on October 10 at Rockwood Music Hall in NY.

Normally, along with original compositions, Kooshian takes themes from his past and puts them the sausage grinder of his polychromatic soul, coming up with flavorful arrangements with his combo. And the results are always delightful. Here, we get one standard (a bouncy arrangement of Bernstein’s “Somewhere” from West Side Story) along with an all-original collection: interpretations of a few memorable characters (the funky “McQueen” is a tribute to the action star; the spacy “Shatner” is an ode to the star of his favorite show, the original Star Trek — both feature percussionist David Silliman); “Tornetto” — a portmanteau of “tornado” and “Ornette” — is definitely a whirlwind tribute to the great originator, played with kickin’ enthusiasm by saxophonist Lederer; the dreamy song “Hymn for Her” (co-written by Kooshian and Judy Barnett) features the dreamy 40s-style vocals of Jim Mola (and for this track, we get guests Katie Jacoby on violin and Summer Boggess on cello); and more. I’ll say it again: Appealing, inventive tunes and downright fun. What more could you ask?

check out performance dates on kooshmania.com
order at summitrecords.com and amazon

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