Listen to Lou's recording of "Road Song" from his album Urban Life arraigned by Chris White
After a great performance on June 28th the "Not so Big Band will be performing on Wednesday August 31th at the Zinc Bar 9pm to 12am in NYC. The Zinc Bar is located at 82 West 3rd Street (btw Thompson & Sullivan) Greenwich Village New York NY 10012 tel. 212-477-ZINC (9462)
Lou Caputo's Not So Big Band is a working big band that has 12 pieces, not the typical sixteen piece or larger variety. It has been together for over ten years playing various venues in New York City. Caputo is a multi-instrumentalist heard here on various saxophones and flute who has played in various show bands ranging from Motown to Harry Connick Jr, as well as Howard Johnson's 5 Bari Saxophone Group (Beartones), Warren Smith's Jazz Composer's Orchestra and the Ellington and Basie bands.
Others in the Not So Big Band include percussionist Eddie Montalvo (Grammy nominee, Latin Grammy winner, Fania All-Stars), saxophonist Virginia Mayhew (Saxophone Journal Saxophonist of the Year), trumpeter John Eckart (performed with Toshiko Akiyoshi and Lee Konitz), legendary bassist and jazz author Bill Crow (performed with Gerry Mulligan and Phil Woods), Geoffrey Burke (performs with Harry Connick Jr.) and percussionist and vibraphonist Warren Smith who has performed with everyone from John Cage and Gil Evans to Barbra Streisand. I am most familiar with Smith's work and also guitarist Joel Perry who I met decades ago in Buffalo (and who also spent years playing second guitar behind legendary blues man, Johnny 'Clyde' Copeland).
This is a marvelous swinging modern big band recording with some terrific renditions of jazz staples from the pens of Joe Henderson, Leo Wright, Jack DeJohnette, Oliver Nelson, Bill Crow, Chick Corea Tadd Dameron, Dexter Gordon, Mary Lou Williams and others. The disc kicks off with a driving rendition of Henderson's "Black Nile," that Caputo takes the first solo with his robust baritone sax followed by Perry's fleet guitar against Geoffrey Burke's arrangement. Trombonist Jason Ingram contributed and arranged the Latin jazz original "Los Cielos De Ayer," with Caputo on soprano, with other solos from trumpeter Dave Smith and guitarist Perry. Don Elliot's composed title track was apparently a popular number by the Nutty Squirrels. The loping groove and sound of the reeds give it a somewhat cool flavor with Warren Smith taking the first solo on vibes, followed by Kohn Eckert's nice middle range trumpet, Caputo's brawny baritone and a short bass solo from Crow.
Leo Wright's "Midnight in Berlin," is a favorite selection with the late Chris White's arrangement and Caputo's outstanding alto (suggestive of John Handy) lending this a Mingus-like feel, with pianist Don Smith and Warren Smith adding solos. A Caribbean carnival feel marks the ebullient rendition of DeJohnette's "Festival" with Caputo's airy flute showcased along with the alto sax of Geoffrey Burke, drummer Mike Campenni before guitarist Perry's acoustic guitar leads to the close. Ryan Krewer's arrangement for "Stolen Moments" gives it a fresh sound as does Caputo's use of soprano and the performance also has Dale Turk's tuba solo. Chick Corea's "Guijara," is another latin flavored number with Caputo on flute (with trumpet like lines) followed by Perry's fiery electric guitar (evoking a jazzy Santana perhaps) and then some wonderful trombone from Ingram (set against Chris Rinaman's marvelous arrangement).
Bill Whited provided arrangements for the lovely rendition of Tadd Dameron's "If You Could See Me Now" (with marvelous ballad playing by Caputo on the baritone) and Dexter Gordon's "Fried Bananas." with Caputo on soprano, Dan Stein on piano and Virginia Mayhew on tenor sax. Virginia Mayhew arranged the closing performance, Mary Lou Williams' "Busy Busy Busy." Caputo is a superb player, and his Not So Big band is a sterling aggregation with a marvelous book, terrific arrangements as well as soloists and a marvelous rhythm section. The result is this excellent recording.
August 15, 2016
CD Review: https://musicalmemoirs.wordpress.com/
By Dee McNeil
Lou Caputo, baritone/soprano saxophones/flute; Joel Perry, guitar; Bill Crow, bass; Don Stein, piano; Dave Smith & John Eckert, trumpet/flugelhorn; Virginia Mayhew, tenor saxophone; Jason Ingram, trombone; Dale Turk, tuba; Geoffrey Burke, alto saxophone/flute; Warren Smith, vibraphone; Mike Campenni & Rudy Petschauer, drums; Eddie Montalvo, conga; Leopoldo Fleming, percussion.
On cut number one, the very first thing I hear that grabs my attention is the rich, exciting sound of a baritone saxophone soloing on “Black Nile,” a familiar Wayne Shorter composition. I turn to the CD jacket to see who’s playing that baritone sax solo. It’s Lou Caputo. As the disc spins and various musicians are featured on solo bars, I’m impressed with their individual master musicianship. Virginia Mayhew swings hard on tenor saxophone and so does Dave Smith on his trumpet during the delivery of this Wayne Shorter tune. And wow! Who was that rolling across those drums like that? Rudy Petschauer is powerful! Caputo has gathered a sparkling array of New York’s best to play these “not so big band” arrangements and make them shine. On the Don Elliot composition, “Uh Oh!” I enjoy Warren Smith’s vibraphone talents. One of the impressive things about this recording is the excellence of ‘the Mix’. Bravo to the engineers that mixed and mastered this recording. Was that you, Mike Marcianao at Systems Two? You can hear every nuance of instrumentation; every brush across the drums and each percussive expression on the conga. Bill Crow is balanced perfectly on bass to lock in with Don Stein on piano, Joel Perry on guitar and either Petschauer or Mike Campenni on drums. Here is a delightful, jazz adventure with rich, well written arrangements by Caputo and the late Chris White, that explore straight ahead jazz at its best. The “Not So Big Band” (which by the way sounds way big!) has been performing for over a decade in New York City and various concert venues. I’ll be playing this CD over and over again for years to come.
LOU CAPUTO’S NO SO BIG BAND/Uh Oh!: He might be a Billyberg native but Caputo is no hipster trustafarian that talks the talk but never walks the walk. A regularly working unit, this crew is called a not so big band because it ‘only’ has ten pieces instead of 16 or more---and if that’s the only knock on this bunch…. Tried and true swingers, they can take you around the block with a bunch of stops in between, all of which are played to perfection throughout. Tasty stuff that comes from being powered by chops forged in the working musician’s crucible, this is a fine example of a party on a platter, jazzbo style. Check it out.
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
I'm glad he did the Don Elliott song "Uh Oh", one of my favorites. From the Nutty Squirrels to Billy May and now to Lou. Interesting I was just talking to Donn Trenner about that song. Lou has a great band and you did some nice liner notes for the CD.
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The 12 musicians on 22 instruments of the Lou Caputo Not So Big Band -- trumpet (2), flugelhorn (2), trombone, tuba, alto sax (2), flute (2), tenor sax, baritone sax, soprano sax, piano, bass, guitar, drums (2), vibraphone, percussion (3) -- positively shine on Uh Oh! (Jazzcat 47 Records), their third in 10 years.
Jazz fans in New York City (The Garage), New Jersey (Trumpets) and London (Ronnie Scott's) might've seen this pulsing organism of a band. Their charts are sophisticated, their arrangements complex. And, boy, can they blow!
Caputo, from Brooklyn, has seemingly done it all. He plays a variety of saxophones, clarinets and flutes, having played them in show bands backing Harry Connick, Jr., Lou Rawls, The Temptations and The Four Tops. He's been in the ghost bands of Ellington and Dorsey. He even played in The Cotton Club Orchestra. His crew has credits up the wazoo from Grammys to superstar stints.
The material is so engaging, it is suggested that the deep jazz fan not know what's upcoming to set off the subtle shock of recognition that will hit the sweet spot 12 times. From Wayne Shorter ("Black Nile"), Jack DeJohnette ("Festival") and Oliver Nelson ("Stolen Moments") to Chick Corea ("Guijira"), Tadd Dameron ("If You Could See Me Now") and Dexter Gordon ("Fried Bananas"), this program is filled with sterling melodies, syncopated surprise and, like a cherry atop a sundae, the closing Mary Lou Williams track ("Busy Busy Busy") is just one more sweet reason to love this project. Highlight? Tough choice but I gotta go with the title tune, a little known novelty from 1959 by a one-hit wonder called The Nutty Squirrels where Caputo positively wails on bari sax. The only question is where the hell did he dig this one up from?