January 25, 2007

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Marc Rosen & Sweet Thunder Jazztet, Monsoon
Karion Productions, 2007

For 30 years Marc Rosen has been quietly obsessed with getting the baritone sax some measure of props, or at least roping more people into buying old Gerry Mulligan albums. In his latest act of Mulligan obeisance his horn honks, honks and honks a little more, using most likely the cheapest studio he could find in order to get some old-school smoke-and-fedora ambiance cranking, and it’s sweetly done – surely the studio engineer caught up on all his cigarette smoking after punching “record” and allowing Rosen’s sextet to pull these off in two semper-fi takes or less. Rosen’s capo is Dave Davidson, whose bouncy, ambitious keys earn more than their keep, and in fact it’s Davidson’s compositions that steal the show, the dreamlike “Dormindinha” wringing the happy tears out of an old slow-foxtrotter’s handkerchief. Longtime Bop drummer Artt Frank (Chet Baker, Charlie Parker) threw out the pre-release blurb for this record, instantly giving this a stamp of 50s authenticity that couldn’t have been disputed regardless. A-Eric W. Saeger