Frank Macchia | The Galapagos Suite

Go To Artist Page

Recommended if You Like
Chick Corea Frank Zappa Pat Metheny

Album Links
Frank Macchia Nexhit PassAlong QtrNote Tradebit Audio Lunchbox Chondo MusicIsHere PayPlay Apple iTunes Bitmunk BuyMusic

More Artists From
United States - California - LA

Other Genres You Will Love
Jazz: World Fusion Jazz: Contemporary Jazz Moods: Type: Soundtrack
There are no items in your wishlist.

The Galapagos Suite

by Frank Macchia

A contemporary jazz suite in six movements that portrays animals of the Galapagos Islands, with soloists Billy Childs, Grant Geissman & Bruce Fowler
Genre: Jazz: World Fusion
Release Date: 

We'll ship when it's back in stock

Order now and we'll ship when it's back in stock, or enter your email below to be notified when it's back in stock.
Sign up for the CD Baby Newsletter
Your email address will not be sold for any reason.
Continue Shopping
just a few left.
order now!
Buy 2 or more of this title and get 10% off
Share to Google +1

To listen to tracks you will need to update your browser to a recent version.

  Song Share Time Download
1. The Birds of Tower Island
Share this song!
8:03 $0.99
2. The Marine Iguanas of Fernandina
Share this song!
7:58 $0.99
3. The Flamingos of Floreana
Share this song!
6:16 $0.99
4. The Great Tortoises of Santa Cruz
Share this song!
5:54 $0.99
5. The Penguins of Bartholome
Share this song!
6:27 $0.99
6. The Sea Lions of Isabela
Share this song!
6:08 $0.99
Available as MP3, MP3 320, and FLAC files.


Album Notes
The Galapagos Suite, a six-movement work on compact disc by composer/multi-instrumentalist Frank Macchia, features such jazz luminaries as pianist Billy Childs, guitarist Grant Geissman, trombonist Bruce Fowler and flautist Valarie King. Composed by Macchia after a trip to the Galapagos Islands, each movement focuses on a particular species that inhabit these beautiful and historic islands such as The Birds of Tower, The Iguanas of Fernandina, and The Sea Lions of Isabela. This contemporary jazz instrumental album uses a full orchestration of strings and percussion samples in addition to Macchia's own woodwind and ethnic flutes.
A composer and orchestrator for films and television, Frank has also worked with such artists as Ella Fitzgerald, Clare Fisher, Brian Wilson, Van Dyke Parks, Yes, Mark Isham and The Tonight Show Band.
The Galapagos Suite is currently available at,, and and retails for $11.99. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Darwin Institute for their continued work in preserving these amazing islands.

Frank Macchia- Biography

Born and raised in San Francisco, CA., Frank started on the clarinet at the age of ten years old. Soon afterward he began studies on bassoon, saxophone and flute. By the age of fourteen he began studying composition, writing jazz and classical pieces for his high school band and orchestra and for jazz ensembles that rehearsed at the local union hall, including trumpeter Mike Vax's Big Band. In 1975-76 Frank wrote jazz/classical hybrid works that were performed by the San Francisco Symphony and local professional jazz musicians at the Summer Music Workshop Programs, and he composed and conducted an orchestral overture for his high school graduation ceremony. During this time period he also performed and arranged music for contemporary dance bands in the Bay Area.

In 1976 Frank attended Berklee College of Music, studying woodwinds with Joseph Viola, and composition/arranging with Herb Pomeroy, Phil Wilson, Greg Hopkins, Tony Texiera, and Ken Pullig. From 1976-80 he performed and composed for the top student ensembles as well as performing with his own ensembles. He received a National Endowment Grant for the Arts to compose a 90 minute continuous jazz/classical suite for large ensemble. He also won Down Beat magazine's DB award for original big band composition in 1979. After graduating with a degree in traditional composition, Frank taught at Berklee at the tender age of 20, as well as performed throughout the New England area with his 8-piece fusion group, "Booga-Booga".

In 1981 Frank moved back to the San Francisco area where he continued working as a musician and composer/arranger over the next ten years, performing concerts with such artists as Ella Fitzgerald, Rita Moreno, Tony Bennett, Jack Jones, Clare Fischer, Chuck Mangione, and the Temptations, to name a few. He performed with local groups such as The Bay Area Jazz Composers Orchestra, Mike Vax's Great American Jazz Band, Royal Street, the Dick Bright Orchestra and the Melotones. He also led his own original groups, including The Gleets, Desperate Character and The Frankie Maximum Band. In 1989 he recorded Introducing Frankie Maximum, an eclectic CD that showcased original material in a variety of styles, from new wave to polka. He followed that with the CD Frankie Maximum Goes Way-er Out West, a wild romp through traditional cowboy folksongs, done with new treatments (Ringo as a hip-hop jazz tune!?). This 1991 album received much critical praise including being named one of the top ten albums of the year by the Oakland Tribune.

In 1991 Frank toured Germany performing in productions of West Side Story and 42nd Street, and when that tour was over, he found himself in Los Angeles, where he has remained ever since. Since 1992 he has worked as a composer/orchestrator on many films and television projects, including, X2-Xmen United, Men of Honor, Eight Legged Freaks, Ghosts of the Abyss, Austin Powers:Goldmember, The Contender, The Apt Pupil, Santa Clause 2, and television shows Night Visions, Nickelodeon's Oh Yeah Cartoons, Disney's Oliver Twist, and the Tonight Show. Currently he completed his latest CD, The Galapagos Suite, a six movement suite based on the animals of the Galapagos Islands, where he and his wife Tracy recently visited. He lives in Burbank, CA with his wife and son.


to write a review

Larry Nai

One of the most addicting releases I've heard recently
While Frank Macchia's public-at-large profile may not be super-visible, he's been seen and heard in so many guises since his late 1970's Berklee day that a good many people have probably tripped over his work at some point. Here's hoping many more will trip over his Galapagos Suite, one of the most addicting releases I've heard recently. The suite's six tracks each possesses its own distinct character; yet there's an organic unity that makes the whole glow with life. The taste it leaves in one's ears is richly orchestral. Macchia's coloristic sense brings to mind the best of Gil Evans, with a palette that extends the comparison even further: "The Marine Iguanas", for example , is so resonantly lush that it begs comparison with some of Duke Ellington's middle-register mood writing. Interested readers should snap this one up while its around, because it's a beauty.

Mark Keating-, Global Rhythm Magazine

A highly-listenable postcard, with winds, brass, keyboards and guitar riffing in
Global Rhythm Review of the Galapagos Album
The strange and remote Galapagos Islands inspired Charles Darwin to do his best work and, apparently have done the same for jazz composure and multi-instrumentalist Frank Macchia. The Galapagos Suite is a six-track concept album derived from a sailing excursion Macchia undertook in 2001. Recorded with a team of session veterans, each track is named after a critter unique to the archipelago. Thus, marine iguanas, penguins, flamingos and, of course, giant tortoises, are among the luminaries described with the same anthropomorphic whimsy used by classical composers like Prokofiev and Satie, except in a contemporary jazz format. A composer for film and television, Macchia wisely avoids the trap of depicting the animals as exotic or ungainly (as sometimes happens in nature documentaries) and grants each with a lyrical grace. The result is a highly-listenable postcard, with winds, brass, keyboards and guitar riffing in a polished session comparable to Pat Metheny during his "Latinesque" period. This is not a new-age ramble, nor does it require a degree in biology – although the liner notes describing the various fauna do help. This is a travelogue in the truest sense, tinged with gratitude for what was obviously an exhilarating voyage.

Winthrop Bedford Jazz Improv Magazine

Jazz Improv Review of the Galapagos Album---
How did composer and multi-instrumentalist Frank Macchia come to write "The Galapagos Suite"? Macchia and his wife took a vacation for a couple of weeks to a group of islands – The Galapagos – located off of the South American country of Ecuador. They made daily excursions by yacht to the islands every day. Frank kept a journal of his experiences, sightings of wildlife and terrain. During his excursion, he began developing the ideas for the music on this album – in hopes that the resultant piece would reflect his experience and observations of these islands and their inhabitants. It’s interesting to note that the Galapagos Islands were also the inspiration for Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution. Must be quite a place!

"The Galapagos Suite" is a contemporary jazz piece, written in six movements. The first movement is "The Birds of Tower Island." I sensed a carefree, upbeat feeling in the piece and perhaps that was what Macchia was feeling as he conjured up the musical latticework for this section. This section is written in 5/4 time, and features a commanding, and harmonically rich piano solo by Billy Childs (with whom readers may be familiar based on his work with Freddie Hubbard, Diane Reeves and many others). Macchia contributes the flute solo that soars above the ensemble at the end of the piece.
On part three, "The Flamingos of Floreana," I feel the warmth of Macchia’s bassoon writing in the opening minutes. This lush section features the sound of bassoon, and a pensive solo by guitarist Grant Geissman. Macchia might not have gotten a whimsical feeling when he was composing part four, "The Great Tortoises." But the opening usage of deep and frictional sounds of bass clarinet, contrabass clarinet and bass certainly gave me that feeling as first. The remainder of the piece continues with deep and dark colors, spacey sounds, cross rhythms, followed by a dark straight-ahead walking bass line and improvised woodwind solo. All of this conjured up the mystery of these curious and enormous creatures – the great tortoises. In contrast to the deliberate sound and feel of "The Great Tortoises" in the previous section, "The Penguins of Bartolome" is a happy, bright samba, lead by a piccolo and flute sounding lead line, and a fulfilling, energetic guitar solo by Geissman.

"The Galapagos Suite" is certainly a labor of love. The music is more ethereal, with new age overtones, as colored by the liberal use of synthesizers throughout the piece. New age music is to me characterized by pallets of colors and an unsatisfying absence of deep and meaningful improvisation – the essence of jazz and the kind of music readers resonate. Macchia’s suite, however, is harmonically and orchestrally rich and is replete with the kind of soloing that characterizes the more straight-ahead jazz settings with which we are familiar. Understood in this context, and the fact that this not something that is ever just thrown together, "The Galapagos Suite" can be regarded as an impressive work.