Frank Macchia | Animals

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Animals

by Frank Macchia

Jazz/world fusion impressions of exotic animals from around the world, featuring Mark Isham, Billy Childs, Vinnie Colaiuta & Grant Geissman and many more top jazz artists.
Genre: Jazz: World Fusion
Release Date: 

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1. Dolphins
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5:58 $0.99
2. Kangaroos
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8:05 $0.99
3. Tigers
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5:30 $0.99
4. Gorillas
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6:34 $0.99
5. Jaguars
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7:12 $0.99
6. JungleForest
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2:25 $0.99
7. Camels
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5:21 $0.99
8. Hippos
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5:22 $0.99
9. Snakes
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6:45 $0.99
10. Alligators
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4:44 $0.99
11. Vultures
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5:39 $0.99
12. Lone Wolf
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4:29 $0.99
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ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
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.


Reviews


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Larry Nai- Cadence Magazine

Memorable music, highly recommended.
Writer/arranger/multi-instrumentalist FRANK MACCHIA released one of this writer's favorite discs of 2003 with his Galapagos Suite, and his new ANIMALS (Cacaphony, Inc. 506) is even better. Assisted by a cast of strong players that includes Vinnie Colaiuta, Billy Childs, Grant Geissman, Bruce Fowler, and Mark Isham, Macchia paints sonic portraits of various animals or settings (Dolphins/Kangaroos/Tigers/Gorillas/Jaguars/JungleForest/Camels/Hippos/Snakes/Alligators/Vultures/Lone Wolf. 68:11) that are rich with melodic and harmonic detail, and as refreshing as iced tea on a sweltering day. Tracks like "Tigers" and "Jungle Forest" display Macchia's extraordinary ear for color, as well as his ability to draw definitive realizations of his scores from the musicians, while "Vultures" and "Snakes" are but two examples of an arranging talent that should be mentioned in the same breath as Gil Evans or Henry Mancini. Macchia takes the closing "Lone Wolf" all by himself, overdubbing nearly 20 different instruments in a stunning demonstration of his skills as a player, writer, and arranger. Memorable music, highly recommended.

Batz n da Belfry

A Great Album
This is a terrific album. I purchased it primarily because of Vinnie Colaiuta's presence and was pleasantly surprised by everyone's performance. I'll be looking for more stuff from these guys.

Paul Thomas - Latin Beat Magazine

Recommended to music and animal fans of all ages.
Instrumentalist/composer Frank Macchia has a wonderful new recording out entitled Animals. Joining him are stellar companions, the likes of Grant Geissman, Mark Isham, and Vinnie Colaiuta. Macchia maximizes his talents here, bringing his own experience as a film music composer, arranger, solo artist, and player of all manner of woodwinds, to the forefront.
Continuing in the vein of his last outing, Galapagos Suite, Macchia has composed a series of what he calls "musical portraits," with titles such as Dolphins, Camels, Snakes. I would term them "musical evocations." Close your eyes while you listen to Snakes, and you are transported to Snakeworld. Likewise, put on Hippos, and you feel like you're right there splashing around with the big-toothed creatures. Even my dog was spellbound (no pun intended) by this recording.
Filing this disc under jazz/world does not do it enough justice. It's more of a musical fantasia, or exotica, along the lines of Ravel or Yma Sumac. There are even some avant-garde symphonic elements that call to mind Stravinsky or Edgard Varese, yet it comes off as accessible as can be. Recommended to music and animal fans of all ages.

George W Carroll

JazzReview.com's review
This is quite the interesting CD project in that the animal kingdom is portrayed through composer Frank Macchia's original music. One will always wonder about the creative forces contained within the soul & spirit of our beloved human race. I assert Macchia's musical efforts rallies to that eternal call succinctly. Macchia offers us music with a different bent as it were, but certainly music with expressions of 'order.' I might add that as he constructs his themes through his material, we the listener consciously work out his material & soundscapes easily, & by default, we become a receptive & attentive audience. Is this not the way it should be?

R.J. Lannan

Funky Zoomeister!
Funky Zoomeister
World and fusion jazz will never be the same with the debut of Animals from composer and instrumentalist Frank Macchia. The album is outrageously energetic and extremely clever. Macchia is an acoustic architect that has created a virtual zoo on thirteen jazzy tracks.

After a couple of listens I suddenly realized that Animals is similar to Sergey Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf. On Macchia’s modern CD however, each animals has a song instead of being represented by a single instrument. As you listen to the music you can pick out each animal’s theme and you quickly realize that the sound you are hearing is that particular animal in musical terms. Frank is joined on this quirky acoustic ark by some very heavy hitters of the jazz world. Legendary filmscore composer and jazz artist Mark Isham (his Vapor Drawings was a highly influential contemporary album), pianist-composer Billy Childs (His April Touch), rock and jazz drummer Vinnie Colaiuta and fusion guitarist Grant Geissman.

The first track is Dolphins. It starts out deceptively simple with a bit of kalimba and melds into a playful Brazilian Bosa Nova track. Childs’ bright piano riffs twinkle on the blue Pacific Ocean as guest vocalist Tracy London’s vocals leap over the waves with grace and energy.

Meanwhile back at the zoo there’s a whole lot of hopping going on. The song Kangaroos will have you tapping your toes and bounding around the room. This is the longest cut on the album (8:09) and a great showstopper, but you know those kangaroos, once they get going you can hardly stop them. Great trombone by Bruce Fowler and a terrific lead on the banjo by Grant Geissman.

Gorillas is an outstanding track on Animals and one of my favorites. This one is full of surprises. There is an unexpected sense of dignity about the song as we hear what gorillas might be thinking. Macchia’s ubiquitous saxophone takes the lead as we follow the noble primate through the dark jungles of Congo, Mbini and Uganda. Like the song, this is one animal that commands respect.

The best track on the CD is Tigers. Featuring Mark Isham on trumpet, the song has an incredible driving force that moves forward ever stealthy, ever present. Flutes and piccolos tickle you as you wander though the Cambodian jungle, but finally the music pounces on you with Isham’s dynamic trumpet score. The song asks…are you the prey or the tiger’s plaything?

Opening like a Gershwin melody, the final cut, Lone Wolf leaves you with a taste for a hunt for more of Frank Macchia’s music. On Lone Wolf Macchia plays eighteen distinct woodwind and brass instruments, hence the title is a double entendre. The haunting sax prowls the dark music like a hungry beast that can not be satisfied by food alone. The hunt is on for something warm, soft and sensuous.

Frank Macchia is an eclectic jazz musician and filmscore composer. A native of San Francisco, California, Macchia headed east in 1976 to attend the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston where he studied composition and arranging. He must have been paying attention. In the early nineties he worked as an orchestrator to many films such as X2- X Men United, Men of Honor, and The Contender and he has previously released a CD titled The Galapagos Suite. In addition, Macchia along with his wife, Tracy London has created a successful series of horror stories modeled after the old time radio shows of the 1940’s.

Overall Macchia’s Spike Jones attitude to jazz and World Music is fun and refreshing. Every cut on the album offers an energetic, creative and funky insight to our friends at the zoo. I had fun just listening. Hand me that bag of popcorn.