Promising a catalogue of “honest jazz,” newly launched label Le Coq Records rings in the new year with its inaugural release, Le Coq Records Presents The Jazz All Stars, Vol. 1. A thrilling overview of the imprint’s virtuosic spirit and guiding philosophy, the album, available now, is the rare all-star project that truly lives up to the name.
In a short time, Le Coq has assembled a family of stellar musicians who converge in myriad combinations on The Le Coq Jazz All Stars, exploring a wide variety of styles and approaches. The names are well known, and some have crossed paths briefly during the course of their notable careers, but these recordings surprisingly mark the first time that many of them have worked extensively together.
The results are a rare treat for modern jazz aficionados, especially given the versatility and range of the well-known musicians who comprise the album’s line-up: keyboardists Bill Cunliffe and John Beasley; bassists John Patitucci and Chris Colangelo; drummers Vinnie Colaiuta, Marvin “Smitty” Smith and Joe LaBarbera; percussionist Alex Acuña; trumpeters Terell Stafford and Wayne Bergeron; saxophonists Rick Margitza and Ralph Moore; guitarist Jake Langley and vocalist Andy James, among others.
“Touring around the world as a Flamenco dancer, I got to know and perform with so many great jazz artists,” explains founder Piero Pata. “So when we started Le Coq, I focused on gathering together these incredible musicians. This album is a way to introduce the label through the vision of these artists who audiences know and who have been pushing the music forward for a lifetime.”
The material on this initial release ranges from absorbing original tunes to reinterpreted classics like “Caravan” and “Afro Blue.” It’s a cohesive single album that nonetheless showcases the stunning artistic breadth and impeccable musicianship for which the label strives.
“The album came together rather organically,” says Cunliffe, who has taken on a role akin to that of a house arranger at the label and who served as an informal music director for the Le Coq Jazz All Stars. “I’m very fortunate to have a producer in Piero who is also an artist himself. He’s all about the music, which is a quality that he shares with all the great jazz producers. As an artist, Piero knows good from bad and he gives me the freedom to do what I need to do. No one can ask for a better producer than that.”
An Italian-Australian native, Pata forged his ear for honest jazz through a lifetime in music and the performing arts. He began studying piano at the age of four under the mentorship of Isador Goodman, pianist for the world-renowned violinist Yehudi Menuhin. Pata also sang in the youth chorus at the famed Sydney Opera. He went on to become a gifted ballet dancer and solidified his technique with Ballet St. Petersburg’s Borris Romanoff and Company, later moving on to The Australian Ballet and touring with many of the world’s top companies and performers. Pata started his producing career in Spain, germinating out of live performances with great Flamenco players and dancers.
While the Jazz All Stars seems like a once in a lifetime congregation of modern jazz greats, it also hints at future releases by many of these artists in Le Coq’s not-too-distant future. Already in the pipeline for the early months of 2021 are new releases from Andy James, Rick Margitza, and a new trio bringing together Cunliffe, John Patitucci and Vinnie Colaiuta, with many more to follow.
Track Listing & Line-Up:
1. Theme for Flotus – 9:27
Written By: John Beasley Drums: Vinnie Colaiuta Percussion: Alex Acuña Bass: John Patitucci Piano: John Beasley Guitar: Jake Langley Sax: Rick Margitza
2 TuWeroNui – 5:13
Written By: Bill Cunliffe Drums: Joe Labarbera Percussion: Alex Acuña Bass: John Patitucci Piano: Bill Cunliffe, Rich Eames Guitar: Jake Langley Trumpets: Wayne Bergeron, Kye Palmer Mike Rocha, Anthony Bonsera Trombones: Andy Martin, Francisco Torres, Bob Mcchesney, Ben Devitt Saxes: Brandon Felds, Bob Sheppard, Rob Lockart, Sal Lozano, Ken Fisher
3. Log Jammin – 4:30
Written By: Jake Langley Drums: Marvin Smitty Smith Percussion: Alex Acuña Bass: Chris Colangelo Rhodes: John Beasley Alto Sax: Charles Mcneal Tenor Sax: Rick Margitza
4. There You Go – 4:55
Written By: Bill Cunliffe Drums: Vinnie Colaiuta Percussion: Alex Acuna Bass: John Patitucci Piano Bill Cunliffe Guitar: Jake Langley Trumpet: Kye Palmer Trombone: Michael Dease Alto Sax: Brandon Fields Tenor Sax: Bob Sheppard
5. Afro Blue – 4:33
Written By: Mongo Santamaria Arranged By: John Patitucci Percussion: Alex Acuña Bass: John Patitucci
6. Caravan – 7:58
Written By: Juan Tizol/duke Ellington Arranged By: Bill Cunliffe Vocals: Andy James Percussion: Alex Acuña Drums: Vinnie Colaiuta Bass: John Patitucci Piano: Bill Cunliffe Guitar: Jake Langley Trumpet: Wayne Bergeron , Kye Palmer Alto Sax: Brandon Fields Tenor: Rick Margitza Trombone: Bob Mcchesney Bari Sax: Adam Schroeder
7. Rockin and Rhythm – 6:15
Written By Duke Ellington Arranged By Bill Cunliffe Drums: Joe Labarbera & Vinnie Colaiuta Percussion: Alex Acuña Bass: John Patitucci & Chris Colangelo Piano: Bill Cunliffe Guitar: Jake Langley Trumpets: Wayne Bergeron, Kye Palmer Mike Rocha, Anthony Bonsera Trombones: Andy Martin, Francisco Torres, Bob Mcchesney, Ryan Dragon, Ben Devitt Saxes: Brandon Fields, Brian Scanlon, Bob Sheppard, Ken Fisher, Adam Schroeder, Sal Lozano
8. Avalon – 6:15
Written By: Al Jolson/buddy Desylva/vincent Rose Arranged By: Rick Margitza Drums: Vinnie Colaiuta Percussion: Alex Acuña Piano: Bill Cunliffe Guitar: Jake Langley Tenor Sax: Rick Margitza
More Information can be found at the Le Coq Records website.
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Last modified: January 11, 2021