Randy Sandke – Unconventional Wisdom – Arbors Records

by | Nov 23, 2008 | Jazz CD Reviews | 0 comments

Randy Sandke – Unconventional Wisdom – Arbors ARCD 19365, 64:32 ***1/2 [Distr. by Allegro]:

(Randy Sandke, trumpet and flugelhorn; Howard Alden, guitar; Nicki Parrott, bass and vocals on tr. 2, 4, 7, & 11; John Riley, drums)

In addition to Warren Vache, Arbors also has Randy Sandke as part of their trumpet roster. Sandke is known for his mastery of all jazz trumpet idioms, ranging from mainstream to metatonal. He can both honor the jazz tradition and reconstruct jazz standards in his own manner.

On Unconventional Wisdom, Randy also has the services of jazz guitar veteran Howard Alden, as well as Australian import Nicki Parrott, who has studied bass with the Rufus Reid, and the late Ray Brown. Randy provides Nicki with the opportunity to share her vocal talents on jazz classics by Cole Porter and Hoagy Carmichael, as well as a jazz interpretation of Debussy’s Reverie, here titled Django’s Dream.

Opening with Cole Porter’s Just One of Those Things, Sandke is off on a tear matched by Alden. Meta Blue matches Sandke’s original metatonic melodies with traditional jazz blues. Parrott gets a nice solo here also. Nicki is featured on both vocals and bass on New Orleans. Her vocal style has an understated sweetness. Randy wrote Nicki’s Journey to honor Parrott’s path from Down Under to the States.

Django’s Dream is a lovely tribute to both Django Reinhardt and Claude Debussy and Parrott does Sandke’s lyrics proud, with Randy adding trumpet fills. It’s a winning combination. Sandke has long had a musical fascination with Bix Beiderbecke, such so that he named his new son, Bix. Little Bix is Randy’s “metatonal children’s piece”.

Bill Evan’s Funkallero is given Latin treatment. The final track, Toyland, another dedication to “Little Bix” is taken as a duo of Sandke and Alden. Unconventional Wisdom is a challenging mix of Sandke’s talents from the straight ahead to the more aurally challenging metatonal quality.

TrackList: Just One of Those Things, Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye, Meta Blue, New Orleans, The Best Thing for You, Nicki’s Journey, Django’s Dream, Little Bix, Chega de Saudade, December Down, For All We Know, We’re in Love, Funkallero, Toyland

– Jeff Krow

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