By Ric Bang
Buy CD: Mac Straight Ahead
I was intrigued by the release notes for this CD, which explain that the entire brass section of this "big band" consists of just two individuals. The featured players include a single baritone sax, a Hammond B3 organ, a bass trombonist and a drummer (although three different artists share the latter chair on these 10 tracks).
The remaining trumpet and trombone lines are contributed by Mac Gollehon, who overdubbed the various parts electronically, to achieve the final master recording.
That technique certainly isn't new. Decades ago, when vinyl records were the medium, Zoot Sims released an album on which he played four alto sax lines (ABC Paramount 198). In a quartet setting – with piano, bass and drums – pianist/composer/arranger George Handy wrote melodies for seven harmonic movements. On day one of the recording session, Sims played alto sax, which normally would have completed the date. The next day, however, Sims returned to the studio, donned earphones and added a second alto line, to create a new master. He repeated that process, to add third and fourth lines.
The result was stunning.
Unfortunately, this album doesn't come close. Gollehon deserves an E for effort, but that's about all.