CD Review: ‘Cartoon Bebop’ – The 14 Jazz Orchestra

CARTOON BEBOP
The 14 Jazz Orchestra
Dabon Music
Release Date January 15, 2021

This interesting and unique CD crossed my desk recently and I was intrigued. This is a CD with eleven tunes, but none were familiar standards. The music was arranged for a 13-piece orchestra and all have been associated with the Miami musical community either as faculty of the Frost School of Music or having performed in the Miami jazz scene. Another aspect which will be of interest to our readers in the Florida Panhandle is that pianist Mike Levine is a frequent performer in this area, as he is a frequent part-time resident in our Port St. Joe area and when that occurs, Panama City’s Gulf Jazz Society engages him to perform. I’ve been privileged to hear and meet him there. Another appeal is that the CD is dedicated to Miami musicians who have passed away this year, multi-instrumentalist Ira Sullivan and studio musician Mark Colby. Sullivan had appeared in our area on several occasions and was beloved by this jazz community.

The 13-piece band provides back-up for excellent solos by the various musicians. Most of the arrangements are by Dan Bonsanti with compositions by, among others, Chick Corea, Wayne Shorter, and has used motifs by Charlie Parker and Thelonious Monk.

The accompanying information sheet explains that Cartoon Bebop contains two of Corea’s compositions “Got a Match?” and “Duende.” Bonsanti was inspired to write the title tune “Cartoon Bebop” after hearing a Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoon, favorite of his. He used piccolo and tuba while adding Charlie Parker and Thelonious Monk motifs.

In essence, an interesting and fun recording. It will be available online on January 15, 2020. For additional information: 14jazzorchestra.com and facebook.com/14jazzorchestra.

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