Take a journey through a wildlife paradise as Frank Macchia's Animals creates jazz/world fusion impressions of exotic animals from around the world. Featuring solo performances by Mark Isham, Billy Childs, Vinnie Colaiuta, Grant Geissman, Bruce Fowler, Valarie King, Scott Breadman, Alex Iles, Dave Carpenter, Ken Kugler, Wayne Bergeron, Stefanie Fife and Tracy London, this CD captures the spirit of these wonderful creatures! Animals is a follow up to 2003's critically acclaimed CD "The Galapagos Suite", which Larry Nai of Cadence magazine raves " Macchia's coloristic sense brings to mind the best of Gil Evans, with a palette that extends the comparison even further". Macchia, who composed and produced this project, is featured on saxophones, flutes, clarinets, ethnic winds and synthesizers.
Jazziz Magazine Review March 2005
- Frank Macchia's Animals
Each tune on this release expresses the fundamental nature of a
particular animal. Although this concept sounds like a cute idea for a kids' album, there's nothing childish about the skills and imagination that Frank Macchia brings to Animals. Plug in your headphones, close your eyes, and Macchia has you bouncing with kangaroos, hunting with tigers, and soaring with vultures.
Macchia is best known for his film and TV scores, so it's no surprise that Animals is cinematic in scope. Numerous L.A. jazz luminaries lend their talents, including Mark Isham (trumpet), Vinnie Colaiuta (drums), Billy Childs (piano), Grant Geissman (guitars), and Bruce Fowler (trombone). They help Macchia paint jazz portraits of different species in their habitats. The latter are mostly portrayed by means of woodwinds, synths, and percussion instruments played and overdubbed by the leader. The end product sounds like a cross between a fusion group and an unconventional big band.
The first tune, "Dolphins," flows with liquid ease and features
uplifting wordless vocals by Macchia's wife, Tracy London. On
"Gorillas," a cello evokes the majesty of great beasts while tropical
rhythms conjure a jungle setting. "Jaguars" depicts predatory cats
with bop tempos and lightning-fast solos by Childs on piano and Macchia on soprano sax. On "Hippos," baritone horn and tuba emulate the massive waddling creatures. "Alligators" is an ominous jazz-rock creation propelled by Geissman's guitar and Colauita's drumming.
Animals is very California, but it's also an exceptional contemporary jazz recording by an inventive composer and arranger who deserves comparisons to Gil Evans and Pat Methany. After hearing this one, you'll feel compelled to visit your local zoo.
March 2005 - Ed Kopp
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, Joe Allard, Steve Grossman 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, Miracle, 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. In 2003 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. A new CD, "Animals" is in production for 2004 release, featuring Frank on multi-woodwinds and a roster of some of Los Angeles best musicians.He lives in Burbank, CA with his wife and son Charlie.