Gregg Gelb Jazz Quartet | Breakaway

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Jazz: Jazz quartet Jazz: Post-Bop Moods: Featuring Saxophone
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Breakaway

by Gregg Gelb Jazz Quartet

Jazz, by sax/clarinet player Gelb, with excellent trio of Steve Anderson-piano, Steve Haines-bass, and Ben Jensen-drums, featuring all original tunes by Gelb, that are faithful to a variety of jazz styles including bebop, swing, modern and Latin/jazz.
Genre: Jazz: Jazz quartet
Release Date: 

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1. All Day All Night
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5:33 $0.99
2. Summer Haze
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5:51 $0.99
3. Boppin\' to the Mambo
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4:04 $0.99
4. Funk It!
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5:55 $0.99
5. Three G\'s
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4:49 $0.99
6. Contemplation
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5:18 $0.99
7. Big Change\'s Comin\'
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5:36 $0.99
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ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
The News and Observer Raleigh ,NC April 19, 09


"GELB MAKES IT SWING

Gig for gig, tenor saxophonist Gregg Gelb may have been the busiest jazz musician in central North Carolina for the last 20 years. As leader of the Gregg Gelb Swing Band, director of the Heart of Carolina Jazz Orchestra, a founding member of the NC Jazz Repertory Orchestra, a jazz educator, and leader of numerous ad-hoc small groups, Gelb is, by example, an advocate for the music.

With "Breakaway" (MG Records) , he cuts to the heart of his experience - a quartet blowing session with seven of his original compositions.

Most of the tunes are singable, and Gelb offers warm-toned improvisation on each. His solos balance lyricism and fluid double -time passages. His rhythmic feeling is straight-ahead and swinging.

"Summer Haze,'" the lone clarinet performance, conjures up an exotic mood similar to Benny Carter's "Key Largo." "Big Change's Comin'" is the kind of swinging tune you can imagine the Count Basie Band playing. "Contemplation" is a fine ballad with sophisticated harmony.

Gelb's rhythm - pianist Steve Anderson, bassist Steve Haines and drummer Ben Jensen - proves itself tasteful and artful, with Anderson uncorking several variegated solos along the way."


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Review from JAZZ.COM

I don't know if your dad ever told you this but you have to be very careful with the funk. It can put permanent (and embarrassing!) stains on your clothes, bumping up your chance of making terrible first impressions in social situations.

Even worse: it can get you mistaken for a smooth jazz musician. Just think, one wrong move and you're sandwiched in between Kenny G and Boney James. Ouch.

As luck would have it, Gregg Gelb knows how to handle the funk. He's got a drummer slinging with that loose-but-tight feel, a sympathetic piano player who can amp up the funk with snazzy unison lines as well as wide-ranging solos, and a bassist who can swing like crazy. This is one fun little tune. The soulful vibe might induce spontaneous body part wavin', but I predict no other social disturbances.

Reviewer: Mark Saleski Jazz.com


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Review from The Classical Voice of North Carolina - for the full review go to http://cvnc.org/reviews/cd_dvd_book/cd/Gelb.html

"Gelb’s sound on both of his horns embodies the musical verities of the swing-to-bop period. He has a rich, rounded saxophone tone that lies in the lineage of Coleman Hawkins and Ben Webster. His clarinet tone is clean, woody, and fluid, evoking Ellington mainstay Russell Procope. His improvisations are less concerned with flaunting their complexity and the player’s technical dexterity than logically extending the lyrical colorations of the theme.

For this outing, Gelb offers a program of seven original compositions. The melodic line of the clarinet feature, “Summer Haze,” suggests a humid, dreamy southern evening. “Boppin’ to the Mambo” is a cooking confection that provides a fine springboard for dense improvisations while retaining an infectious dancing lilt. “Funk It!” is a spacious, vampish line that liberates Gelb and the band to play with the density of their improvisations.

The ballad, “Contemplation” is a clever variation on Duke Ellington’s classic theme, “What Am I Here For?” The tune’s slow tempo gives the listener an opportunity to luxuriate in Gelb’s full, rich tone. Invoking an Ellington theme can be perilous for a tenor saxophonist, as it conjures the ghosts of Ellington orchestra mainstays Webster and Paul Gonsalves, but Gelb rises to the occasion, avoiding flash and offering an eloquent, poised set of variations.

Pianist Steve Anderson is a potent presence throughout the proceedings. His execution is always crisp, his voicings intriguing, and his improvisations consistently surprising. He has an unusual sense of space. Although he is capable of tossing off a dense, rhythmically challenging musical knot within a solo, his improvisations tend to breathe freely, dancing with a wide variety of emotive colorations. His solo on ”All Day All Night” is intriguing and cleverly paced, building in complexity, cleverly varying density and tone over a surprisingly compact sonic space. On”Summer Haze” his solo stretches itself out across the bars as if to suspend time, embodying and emphasizing the languorous feel of the theme. Check out his comping on this tune, where he colors, feeds, and offers intriguing counterpoint to the solos of the leader and the bassist. On “Boppin’ the Mambo” Anderson offers dancing lines and a lilting swing that interlocks nicely with the finely detailed stick work of the drummer.

The band is rounded out with bassist Steve Haines and drummer Ben Jensen. The rhythm mates serve the session rather than calling attention to themselves. Haines offers propulsive support to the proceedings. His swing is sure but unobtrusive. Jensen is a fine colorist, who tastefully contributes throughout the disc.

Stan H. Dick
Note: It is a great honor to welcome distinguished jazz writer (and former Spectator colleague) Stan H. Dick to the pages of CVNC.

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Short Bio:

GREGG GELB, tenor and alto saxophonist and clarinetist, composer and arranger, is a recipient of the Jazz Composers Fellowship Award from the North Carolina Arts Council.
He is founder and director of the Heart of Carolina Jazz Orchestra and Jazz Society, leader of the Gregg Gelb Swing Band, and co-founder and player with the North Carolina Jazz Repertory Orchestra. He is producer of an annual concert and outreach series that presents top national jazz artists and through this he has performed with featured guest artists: Sonny Fortune, Fred Wesley, Byron Stripling, Rene Marie, Bud Shank, Joe Chambers, Harry Watters, T.K. Blue, Valery Ponomarev, Claudio Roditi, Mark Whitfield, Bill Charlap, Butch Thompson, and many others.
He teaches Introduction to Jazz online for Central Carolina Community College and a Jazz Improvisation Workshop in Raleigh every Tuesday. He has a Doctor of Musical Arts from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, a Master of Music degree from the North Carolina School of the Arts, and a Bachelor of Music degree from Berklee College of Music.

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Some more reviews:

"On gorgeous ballads like the jazz benchmark tune, "Body and Soul," or on a rocking blues earlier in the program, tenor work by Gregg Gelb simply shimmered into the microphone, with a full complement of technical flexibility and tasteful imagination."
Jack Dressler, The News and Courier, Charleston, SC

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" The Gregg Gelb Swing Band’s ‘Let’s Face the Music’ is a marvelous reminiscence of the romantic and swing music during WW II,"
Carol Sloane, renowned jazz vocalist

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"Authentic swing - a triangle mainstay for the past decade, the Gregg Gelb Swing Band, preceded the current revival of swing era music and styles by several years. The group is definitely more varied and substantive than fad bands such as Cherry Poppin' Daddies, Royal Crown Revue and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy."
Owen Cordle, Jazz Times and the Raleigh, NC News and Observer


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