Mapleshade Music
Home Music Audio Products Other Wares Artists About Us Mailing List Help Shopping Cart
Mapleshade Records

Andy McClouds Gentlemen of Jazz

ANDY McCLOUD'S GENTLEMEN OF JAZZ:
Blues For Bighead

In the wee hours of a Clifford Jordan session, Andy first caught my ear with a down-in-the-gutter blues solo. Then and now, Andy can play some blues. Even better, he’s a hell of a composer. With these strengths, he picked three of New York’s top jazz guys to form the Gentlemen of Jazz. Steve Nelson’s on vibes–he is the bluesiest, most soulful vibist I’ve heard since Milt Jackson. McCoy Tyner’s great altoist, Joe Ford, is endlessly inventive. And Victor Jones’ drums are fiery and splashy. Their solos really knock me out. Whether they’re cooking or lyrical, on the melody or free, the group never strays far from the blues. By the way, if you’re wondering why all of Andy’s tunes are named after women, your first guess is probably right. I bet that’s what makes his blues so earthy. (#07832)

Andy McCloud, Bassist

 

TRACK LISTING:

1.
Blues For Bighead - Listen to Sample
2.
Beatrice
3.
Song For Lou
4.
WAaltz For A Nebulous Woman - Listen to Sample
5.
Who Is My Mother
6.
I'm Tired Of Talking - Listen to Full Song
7.
Lisa
All music composed by Andy McCloud

 

REVIEWS:

All Music Guide:
reviewed by Dave Nathan

Andy McCloud's recorded tribute to a friend of his nicknamed "Bighead" was cut in 1990 in Pierre Sprey's studio in the bucolic surroundings of Upper Marlboro, MD. Strangely, it lay in the vaults for 10 years before being released. Playing with his regular group (at that time), McCloud leads them through a play list of his compositions. Despite the title, this is not a blues-dominated session. "I'm Tired of Talking" is a hard bop piece with Steve Nelson's vibes and Joe Ford's alto taking solo honors. In contrast to this musical mayhem is the laid back, quite sedate "Who Is My Mother", where McCloud plays long, fat, resonant bass lines, less sharp than the style of many of today's practitioners on the big fiddle. McCloud continues his generosity in sharing the center stage spotlight as he lets guest Larry Willis make a strong, but ruminative, statement on "Song for Lou" as McCloud plucks away underneath making it one of the more melodic tracks on the CD. The mike picks up the spontaneous jivin' as McCloud counts off the beat on the album's flag waver, "Blues for Bighead" kicked off by the boppish alto of Joe Ford, it turns into a blues laden eight minute workout of a McCloud head arrangement where everyone gets plenty of room to express themselves as Victor Jones's beats out the tempo, shoots out rim shots and otherwise engages in percussive calisthenics designed to make a statement.

Although McCloud (has) been on the jazz scene for several years, having worked with such notables as Elvin Jones, Jon Hendricks and Jimmy McGriff, but has never really become a name that average jazz fans would recognize. This debut album should help change that. Recommended.

CMJ:

Bassist Andy McCloud has played countless sessions with such folks as Elvin Jones, Dizzy Gillespie and Don Pullen. Here he’s put together a beautiful quartet that sounds like a classic Blue Note session from the early ‘60s. The playing starts out in a straight-ahead groove but looks to break off into adventurous improvisation whenever possible, particularly on “Waltz For A Nebulous Woman.” McCloud sets the tone here with a bouncing bass style that swings deep, but in a jaunty sort of way.

August 2001

All About Jazz:
reviewed by Asim Memon

Bassist Andy McCloud convenes the Gentlemen of Jazz–his working band–to produce a satisfying set of straightahead improvised music. Around jazz since the New York loft scene, McCloud worked with likes of Elvin Jones in the late ‘70s, Clifford Jordan in the early ‘80s, and Hilton Ruiz through the ‘90s. Blues for Bighead represents McCloud’s first disc as a leader. The all-original program of blues and blues-oriented pieces provides some engaging twists: for one, the presence of Steve Nelson on vibes in the seat traditionally occupied by piano in a quartet ensemble. Nelson really stretches out on “Lisa” and his mallet-work reinforces the groovy atmosphere. Joe Ford’s piercing yet soulful voice on alto and soprano saxes captures the listener’s attention throughout the session. His alto on the opening number evinces a sophisticated command of the blues idiom. Ford cuts loose long, flowing upper-register phrases on his solo on “Waltz for a Nebulous Woman”. McCloud himself keeps things fresh by displaying the full complement of bass technique: fat walking lines on “Blues for Bighead” and a bowed introduction and closing on “Waltz for a Nebulous Woman”. Bass and piano make an enticing duet. McCloud presents two numbers, “Song for Lou” and “Who Is My Mother”, with pianist Larry Willis. Fans of mainstream jazz will find their generic expectation fulfilled by this debut offering from a jazz journeyman.

August 2001