East Coast & West Coast Jazz styles, Bossa Nova, Samba, Blues, ECM, Twelve Tone, Ballads, this CD has it all!
Bi-coastal composer/saxophonist/educator Glenn Cashman leads this fantastic 14-piece ensemble based in the greater Los Angeles area. Glenn divides his time between teaching at Colgate University in upstate New York and performing in LA with his Southland Big Band, as tenor saxophonist with Luther Hughes & the Cannonball-Coltrane Project, recording and performing also with guitarist Ron Escheté, pianist Tom Ranier & many others.
Glenn also serves as Founding Director of the Muckenthaler Jazz Festival in Fullerton, CA, arranging the artistic lineup for a six-event series that is produced by his good friend Eric Futterér. Glenn’s first solo recording featured the legendary Kenny Barron Trio. He has also served as Director of Jazz Studies at Towson University following his mentor Hank Levy and at Cal State Fullerton.
Glenn studied Jazz composition with Hank Levy at Towson University, with Gene Rush at the University of Memphis, and earned a doctorate in composition at the University of Maryland College Park as a result of working with “new music” composer Robert Gibson. The strong desire to get very serious about writing big band music emerged after a commission from the Baltimore-Washington based “John Blount w/Dave Tucker & the New Band (“Tropicale”).” Further momentum gathered as Glenn was invited to play some gigs with his friend (and fellow alum of the “University of Levy”) Bill Warfield and his New York City based big band.
Bill's group employs the same instrumentation as the Birdland Dream Band (4 saxes, 4 trumpets, 2 trombones, rhythm with guitar added), reintroducing Glenn to the attractiveness of this chamber-like and more streamlined big band sound. He wrote a couple of charts for this ensemble including a commissioned work featuring organist Gene Ludwig (“The Circuit”), and was named winner of the 1st Lost Generation of Jazz contest leading to a public performance and live concert recording of his works at Lehigh University by the Bill Warfield Big Band.
Glenn then decided to form a big band based on the Birdland Dream Band model in Southern California, where he spends more than three months a year immersed in the jazz scene. A post-tenure sabbatical semester from Colgate University provided the time to write new charts, rework/expand recent pieces and to plan the recording.
The musicians were handpicked for this CD with the Cannonball-Coltrane Project (CCP) rhythm section serving as the foundation. Glenn asked his CCP band-mate, the marvelous alto saxophonist Bruce Babad to play with the band for the debut concert. Bruce was not available so Glenn decided to play the chair himself, a return to his lead alto roots, having played that chair for Hank Levy and in many big band & commercial settings earlier in his saxophone career. Since he is having a blast, he reports that he is not inclined to give up the chair anytime soon.
Special thanks also to the Friends of Jazz (Fullerton, CA), The California Jazz Arts Society (CalJAS, Alta Loma, CA), and the Muckenthaler Cultural Center in Fullerton.
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SAXOPHONE: Glenn Cashman, alto / Tom Luer, tenor / Rob Hardt, tenor / Bob Efford, baritone
TRUMPET: Lee Thornburg, lead trumpet/flugel / Pete DeSiena, lead trumpet/flugel / Bob Summers, trumpet/flugel / Ron Stout, trumpet/flugel / Carl Saunders, trumpet solos (1,4)
TROMBONE: Andy Martin / Alex Iles, tenor & bass trombone
RHYTHM: Ron Escheté, guitar / Ed Czach, piano/Hammond B-3 / Luther Hughes, acoustic bass / Paul Kreibich, drums
RECORDING/MIXING ENGINEER: Allison Moffett
EXPANDED CD NOTES BY GLENN
This recording is the realization of a longtime dream to write big band music for a top-notch group of players and to then document the results in a studio. My heartfelt thanks to all of those involved in this project, especially the fabulous musicians, Allison Moffett, Primrose Lane Music, Colgate University and my wife Cheryl Jonsson.
COOKIN’ WITH SHORTY & COOP is a tribute to West Coast Jazz and the legacy of trumpeter Shorty Rogers & saxophonist Bob Cooper, honoring their Lighthouse All-Stars tenure. The harmony is based on 12-bar Bird blues changes. Carl Saunders and Rob Hardt play sparkling solos while Paul Kreibich turns up the heat on a drum excursion accompanied by percussive ensemble hits.
AGUAS DE MARCO (Waters of March) by Antonio Carlos Jobim presented an opportunity to feature the outstanding talents of Ron Stout and Tom Luer in a setting reminiscent of the famous Elise Regina/Tom Jobim duet version of this Brazilian classic. One of my favorite compositions, I hope that Maestro Jobim would have approved. Lee Thornburg leads the charge at the shout chorus.
BLUES IN THE TUNNEL was written before I actually experienced getting stuck in the Lincoln Tunnel, on the way from a rehearsal in Manhattan to a performance of my music at Lehigh University with the Bill Warfield Big Band. After the opening sax soli, Bob Summers plays some deep fleet-fingered phrases followed by me on alto. Andy Martin shines in a masterful unaccompanied chorus in the middle of his enticingly angular solo while the irrepressible (we’ve tried pressing him) Luther Hughes offers a soulful, blues-inflected yet boppish solo.
CHESAPEAKE BAY employs a floating straight-8th note ECMish feel with a guitar/piano opening melody. Lee Thornburg soars on the lead trumpet interludes, the first of which gives way to Carl Saunder’s Gillespie-like burst, beginning his melodic and creative outing. A contrapuntal section with seafaring overtones is treated to some fine embellishment by drummer Paul Kreibich.
LIGHTHOUSE KEEPING MAN is a musical portrait of my dear friend Howard Rumsey whose leadership of the Lighthouse All-Stars and work at Concerts By The Sea has left an indelible mark on Jazz. Ron Stout displays a conspicuous lyrical warmth throughout and Ed Czach contributes a beautiful and textured solo statement. One could learn a lot from Howard about how to live a life. This piece was also recorded by the Cannonball-Coltrane Project on their CD “Spectacular.”
THE CIRCUIT was commissioned by the N.Y.C. based Bill Warfield Big Band for a live recording at Lehigh University. The title refers to the chitlin’ circuit; 1950s & 60s African-American clubs that often featured the stirring sounds of a Hammond B-3 organ. Bob Efford takes a robust bari solo before handing off to Ron Escheté who swings effortlessly. Ed Czach is the featured artist on this track, delivering an intelligently greasy organ solo that moves into a very hip chord melody section.
SATELLITE TWELVE is a belated by-product of my doctoral studies a decade ago with the superb new music composer Robert Gibson at the University of Maryland in College Park. The theme is based on a tone row. Ron Stout and Rob Hardt take us out into orbit on this one. Paul Kreibich blasts off with an energetic drum solo before setting up the ensemble re-entry to Earth. My wife Cheryl named the tune as I was searching for a celestial title.
CHERYL was designed as an alto feature in gratitude to my lovely and charming wife. Ed Czach conjures up a very tasty piano solo on this somewhat intricate chart. Upon playing this composition with the band in concert after meeting Cheryl, LA-based trumpeter Steve Huffstetter remarked, “She doesn’t seem that complicated.” Pete de Siena exhibits impressive control and sensitivity in the lead trumpet role.
CONCERTO PER BASSO PAVIMENTO was penned for my pal, bassist extraordinaire Luther Hughes who plays with great clarity and strength throughout. The translation of the title is Concerto for Floor Bass. Written in response to Stan Kenton’s Concerto for Doghouse featuring Howard Rumsey in Stan’s original band, our friend Ron Escheté also steps out while keeping the brass at bay!
A SAMBA FOR YOU pays homage to my mentor Hank Levy who composed music for Stan Kenton and Don Ellis. Alex Iles and Ron Escheté float above the ensemble with ease while the trumpets, saxes and trombones each navigate tricky section solis. Hank often favored a flugelhorn/alto sax melodic pairing on Latin charts. His forte was odd-meter writing, but this chart stays in duple meter.
By Jack Bowers
Even though Glenn Cashman's superlative Southland Big Band makes its home (technically) south of the Mason-Dixon Line, it is more than a few miles removed from cotton fields, mint juleps and the Mississippi River--to be more precise, in the greater Los Angeles area. There's no discernible southern partiality to the music either; it's pure-blooded straight-ahead big-band jazz, written (for the most part) and arranged by Cashman and performed by an all-star troupe of southern California's most accomplished sidemen.
As noted, eight of the nine selections on this persuasive all-original studio date are Cashman's. The lone exception Antonio Carlos Jobim's “Aguas de Marco” (Waters of March), scored by Cashman for his fourteen-member ensemble. The sunny opener, “Cookin' with Shorty and Coop” (for Shorty Rogers and Bob Cooper), is outstanding, thanks to Cashman's well-grooved arrangement and bright solos by trumpeter Carl Saunders and tenor saxophonist Rob Hardt. There are other earnest tributes, to Howard Rumsey (”Lighthouse Keeping Man”), fellow bassist Luther Hughes (”Concerto por Basso Pavimento,” on which Hughes and guitarist Ron Eschete are the soloists), composer / arranger / Cashman mentor Hank Levy (”A Samba for You”) and Cashman's wife, “Cheryl,” featuring the composer's expressive alto sax.
Besides those already mentioned, the band's squadron of snappy improvisers includes trumpeters Ron Stout and Bob Summers, trombonists Andy Martin and Alex Iles, tenor Tom Luer, baritone Bob Efford and pianist Ed Czach (Hammond B-3 organ on “The Circuit”). Saunders is showcased again on “Chesapeake Bay,” Summers, Martin and Cashman on “Blues in the Tunnel,” Stout and Hardt on “Satellite Twelve.” The rhythm section (Czach, Eschete, Hodges, drummer Paul Kreibich) is on top of its game throughout, as are split lead trumpeters Lee Thornburg and Pete DeSiena.
The recording, Cashman writes, is “the realization of a longtime dream.” It's a safe bet that even he never dreamed it would turn out this well. Thanks to Cashman's persistence and expertise, the “Southland” has risen again. Long may it endure and prosper.
Review by William Ruhlmann
Jazz educator Glenn Cashman is, of course, also a composer/arranger as well as a saxophonist, and he spent his post-tenure sabbatical from Colgate University, where he is Associate Professor of Music, writing new tunes, arranging (Antonio Carlos Jobim's "Aguas de Marco"), and adapting some of his previous compositions ("Lighthouse Keeping Man," "The Circuit") for this, his first album with the 15-piece Southland Big Band he leads in Southern California. Cashman's academic credentials are confirmed in his music, which is littered with stylistic touchstones in the field of post-swing big-band jazz from Stan Kenton (evoked most clearly in the closing track, "A Samba for You," which is pegged as an homage to Hank Levy, who wrote for Kenton and mentored Cashman) to third stream (notably in the tone-row-based "Satellite Twelve," another credited homage, this time to "new music" composer Robert Gibson, with whom Cashman did his doctoral work at the University of Maryland). But such footnotes should not be off-putting to the potential listener. Rest assured that, whatever the antecedents of Cashman's writing, he has put together a swinging band here and given it room to play. Even his pal Luther Hughes, with whom he plays tenor in Hughes' Cannonball-Coltrane Project, gets a lively showcase in "Concerto per Basso Pavimento." So, Glenn Cashman & the Southland Big Band earn the exclamation mark that appears at the end of their name in the album title, and, their academic qualifications notwithstanding, present a lively, and sometimes even hot, set.
Written by Glenn A. Mitchell, LA Jazz Scene & jazzpolice.com
Monday, 02 November 2009
Composer and alto/tenor saxophonist Glenn Cashman has put out a wonderful big band CD this year, Southland Big Band. He is the composer on all compositions except “Aguas De Marco” by Antonio Carlos Jobim.
There are ten selections of meaningful tunes from Cashman about his life experiences. One, as example, is “Lighthouse Keeping Man” for his good friend Howard Rumsey, who directed many years of famous jazz concerts at the Lighthouse and later Concerts by the Sea. Another is “Cheryl” for his lovely wife, and “Cooking with Shorty and Coop” (famed trumpeter Shorty Rogers and sax man great, Bob Cooper), who were a main part of the Lighthouse All-Stars during the group’s fame in the late 50s and early 60s.
The band includes many of the best players in L.A.: Tom Luer and Rob Hardt (tenor), Bob Efford (bari), and Glenn Cashman (alto) on saxophones; Lee Thornburg, Pete De Sienna, Bob Summers, Ron Stout, and Carl Saunders on trumpets; Andy Martin and Alex Iles on trombones; Ron Eschete on guitar; Ed Czach on piano/Hammond B-3; Luther Hughes on acoustic bass; and Paul Kreibich on drums.
The music here is swinging and mellow and, of course, has lots of brilliant solos from all of the fifteen members. “Blues in the Tunnel” is a story of Cashman going to a rehearsal in New York and getting literally stuck in Lincoln Tunnel. Some bopishly-influenced
solos come forward from trumpeter Summers, Cashman and then a large, soulful blues inflected solo from Hughes.
A melodically infused number, “Chesapeake Bay” plays well, giving some trumpet predominance in soloing from Thornburg and Gillespie-like bursts in Saunders’ fine solo. All numbers in this CD are very interesting and make an exploratory listening adventure. The liner notes are a must-read, telling something of each composition. Check out CD Baby or www.glenncashman.com for purchasing info. Definitely recommended.
Reprinted with permission from the November 2009 issue of LA Jazz Scene.
“Cashman seems influenced as much by heavyweight Coltrane followers such as Ernie Watts and Mike Brecker as he does by the original source -- no problem in this context. Cashman's "No Mercy," a harmonically challenging answer to Joe Zawinul's "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy," is pure soul-washing gospel.”
-Owen Cordle, The News Observer
From a review of Cannonball-Coltrane Project CD
“The Tom Ranier/Glenn Cashman Sextet is an all- star group of some of the most in-demand jazz musicians on the Southern California scene… Cashman is a renowned tenor saxophonist who divides his time between teaching in upstate New York and playing gigs around Los Angeles… The strength of the individual performers on this session would be enough to warrant interest. What makes Bright Idea stand out as a winner, however, is the exemplary composing of its co-leaders… With committed passion to the past and a forward-thinking connection to the possibilities of straight-ahead jazz, Ranier and Cashman maintain a musical aesthetic that is challenging, yet accessible to a diverse listening audience. Bright Idea is a welcome addition to the recorded legacy of a powerhouse ensemble deserving of wider recognition.”
-John Barron, AllAboutJazz.com
Excerpts from a review of Bright Idea by the Tom Ranier-Glenn Cashman Sextet
“But most of the performances are thoughtful originals, highlighted by tenor saxophonist Glenn Cashman's warm tribute to Howard Rumsey ("Lighthouse Keeping Man"), drummer Paul Kreibich's punchy hard bop vehicle "Fast Trak" and the leader's upbeat "Spectacular," a lively reworking of the standard "There Will Never Be Another You."
-Ken Dryden, AllMusic guide review of Spectacular by The Cannonball Coltrane Project
“Cashman starts his "Trane Remembered" with a muscular soliloquy that sets the mood for a lovely ballad. Infused with a blues connotation, the piece highlights the tenor saxophonist's Trane influence. Deep, mesmerizing strings of linked phrases flow from the horn with fluid ease.
-Jim Santella, All About Jazz
From a review of Cannonball-Coltrane Project CD
“For the CD, band members composed their own tunes as well, and several were offered Friday. Two particularly stood out: Cashman's "Trane Remembered," a tender, melancholy (but not maudlin) ballad that recalled the softer, breathier side of Coltrane. And Cashman's rocking, funked-up "No Mercy" was a sort of alternate look at Adderley's most famous recording, that of Joe Zawinul's "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy."
-Steve Eddy, Orange County Register
From review of Cannonball-Coltrane Project performance at
Orange County Center for the Performing Arts
“Four originals highlight the leader’s composing authority… Cashman and (Kenny) Barron bring the listener to the edge of his seat through their thrilling adventures.”
-Jim Santella, Los Angeles Jazz Scene
From a review of Glenn Cashman’s CD “I’ve Got Your Rhythm”