Here is a translation of a Latin review of my CD Code Blue!
The back cover of this disc and the inside are two photos that show Doc Stewart very funny and a nice nurse trying to revive a saxophone. Saxophonist, as stated on its website, is not only an instrumentalist of occupation but also a doctor at the Mayo Clinic in the US and from time to time is devoted to music, besides being one of the famous historical links Cannonball Adderley. Before becoming a doctor Stewart was a professional alto saxophone and until now has not lost any of his talent, as evidenced by the solos on the disc in front of the Big Band Resuscitation composed for the occasion by his former colleagues, professionals all around the United States or in the recording studio. The theme of the album is emergency medicine, that the Code Blue! and the title passes to the first four titles form a suite. Then follow their own compositions or taken by the great heritage of modern jazz, there is also a Song My Lady Sings written by Charles Lloyd, the famous tenor saxophonist under the ECM. There are plenty of standards, there is about a beautiful execution of Bohemia After Dark by Oscar Pettiford, re-arranged by Tom Kubis, the “writer” behind the big band.
The overwhelming leader’s solos, the rhythm driven by a fantastic drummer Steve Moretti, and the double bass and electric bass Kevin Axt makes the music vibrant, challenging, driven at speeds unheard of to impress the audience. Doc Stewart is obviously inspired by Cannonball Adderley, his sound on alto sax and technique is typical of the bebop era. Listening to him no one would think that it is only a second activity behind the hospital made of night shifts and emergency calls. The big band works well, sections of the winds do their job great, especially when it comes to songs from the assets of that jazz propagated by Cannonball: Here are The Sticks Adderley and Bobby Timmons Dis Here we report the old days when l’appassionato saxophone leader seems to have lung endless. There is also a bossa, Patty’s Bossa written by the leader, as proof of its technical-executive on other types of rhythms. The overall result is a great record that puts in a good mood, in which only a second after listening you can admire the technical skill of the leader and big band.
Mark Holston wrote an article in the magazine JAZZIZ and has some real nice things to say about Doc Stewart’s CD Code Blue!
Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album:
“Code Blue!” Doc Stewart’s Big Band Resuscitation
Best Instrumental Composition:
“The Code Blue Suite” Tom Kubis, composer
Best Instrumental Arrangement:
“Poor Butterfly” Matt Catingub, arranger; “The Way You Look Tonight” Matt Catingub, arranger; “Snakin’ the Grass” Tom Kubis, arranger.
Don’t ask me why, but my solos on “The Last Breath Blues” & “Patty’s Bossa” are also on the list Best Improvised Jazz Solo. I do understand how Rich Breen, Tommy Vicari, and Bernie Grundman are up for Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical.
Great, swinging big bands are few and far between these days. A lot of water has passed beneath the bridge since we’ve heard groups that meet the standards set by Basie, Ellington, Gillespie, Mingus, Adderley, Ferguson, Corea, GRP and Grusin. Well, weep no more; Resuscitation, a big band led by Chris (Doc) Stewart, has arrived.
Stewart is a real doctor, and has practiced that art for more than 25 years. Before that, he lived in the musical world. He was the sixth of nine children, in a family where everyone played an instrument. Born in Anaheim, California, he moved to a farm in Illinois, then back to Anaheim when he was 12 (where, incidentally, he lived in a house just doors away from his future wife, Patty). He chose the alto sax as his horn, complementing with flute during his high school days. He won a talent contest at Disneyland, and played gigs during and after his high school years.
He was good enough to work with Louie Bellson, Bill Watrous, Toshiko/Lew Tabakin and others. He and Patty were married in 1981, and for the next decade he lived two lives: playing jazz and earning a medical degree. Patty was instrumental in the success of the latter endeavor, and they recently celebrated their 33rd wedding anniversary. Doc currently practices in the ER section of the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona.
In his “spare” time, he spends hours transcribing the music of his favorite artists: all of Eddie Daniels’ solos from his To Bird, with Love LP, and all of Cannonball Adderley’s solos (the basis of Stewart’s 2005 release, Phoenix: A Tribute to Cannonball Adderley).
This new album is stunning. The big band consists of six woodwinds, six trumpets and flugelhorns, four trombones, piano/keyboard, bass and drums. Every member is a star in his own right; as just one example, Stewart and pianist Matt Catingub have played together for more than 30 years.
We begin here with the four movements of “Code Blue Suite,” written by Stewart and Tom Kubis; that vibrant wake-up call runs more than 20 minutes. The next 10 swingers consist of traditional charts used by the Cannonball Adderley Quintet and icons such as Kubis, Julian Adderley, Hal Galpar, Oscar Pettiford, Bobby Timmons and Charles Lloyd. The two American Songbook standards are Kern’s “The Way You Look Tonight” and Hubbell’s “Poor Butterfly.” Most of the arrangements are by Stewart, Kubis and Catingub.
It all swings like crazy, and the solo work — whether by Stewart or other band members — is outstanding. I particularly enjoy the lines done by the entire woodwind sections, on “The Way You Look Tonight” and “Bohemia After Dark,” in the fashion of the old SuperSax band. All I can say is more … more … more!
Jazz & Blues Review - by Ron Weinstock
Chris ‘Doc’ Stewart is a world-class alto saxophonist who developed his talent before entering into his day job as an ER physician at the famed Mayo Clinic. This is the second CD of his big band, Resuscitation, comprised of musicians that he associated with in his pre-medicine days that include a number top studio and jazz musicians in the LA scene. Some of the more prominent names here include pianist Matt Catingub, bassist Kevin Axt, drummer Steve Moretti, trombonists Bill Reichenbach Andy Martin and Scott Kyle, Trumpeters Wayne Bergeron, Jeff Bunnell and Ron Stout, and saxophonist Bill Liston. Arrangements are by pianist Catingub and Tom Kubis, who co-wrote the centerpiece of this album, “Code Blue Suite,” with Doc Stewart.
Stewart advises that the four-part “Code Blue Suite” “tells the story of life and death I see everyday in the ER.” The bluesy roots of Stewart’s music here is evident on the opening “Code Pink – Born to See Blues’ that celebrates birth and the uncertainty life brings, followed by “Ironman Blues – Dig Me Man!.” This part has a definite fifties-sixties Basie feel about it with strong playing from Reichenbach and Bergeron in addition to the leader’s own playing. “The Last Breath Blues – All
Alone Now” opens with some unaccompanied playing from Stewart before to starting a bluesy riff with the rhythm and its leader getting very heated before a segment incorporating some emergency room effects a spoken part before a sharp ending. The concluding part of the suite, “Code Jesus – New Life,” is quite lively and celebratory with nice playing from Stewart and Stout, but kudos also to Axt for his electric bass playing.
The remainder of the album includes performances associated with Cannonball Adderley, including the driving “The Sticks”; a spirited Bobby Timmons’ “Dis Here”; Adderley’s ”Introduction to a Samba” and Oscar Pettiford’s “Bohemia After Dark.” Stewart’s previous big band album was a tribute to Adderley and his music publishing company is Cannonball Jazz. The big
band arrangements are nicely done and with the solid soloing providing nice framing for what were originally small group performances. The leader certainly plays with a fluid, robust bluesy attack. Kubis contributed a lovely ballad, “Tribute to Bud Shank,” while Catingub contributes a bright, brassy arrangement for “Poor Butterfly”‘ as well as the lightly swinging treatment for “The Way You Look Tonight,” with Andy Martin’s trombone solo of note.
“Code Blue!” is a is recording that should have wide appeal with first rate soloing and swinging ensemble playing by this excellent big band.
If the concept behind Code Blue!, the Doc Stewart album released in June, is what he calls the “resuscitation ” of the big band sound, or perhaps even more miraculously the resurrection of that sound, not only does it work as a metaphor, but if enough jazz fans give it a listen, it is in fact likely to rise to miracle. And that is only fitting since not only is Stewart a fine alto sax player working with a talented group of musicians, but he is also an ER physician at the prestigious Mayo Clinic. Who better to resuscitate (resurrect) a patient hovering between life and death?
Hyperbole aside, Code Blue! is an album with a truly authentic big band sound. Much of it relies on some excellent arrangements from Tom Kubis or the band’s pianist Matt Catingub. Whether taking a classic tune like “The Way You Look Tonight” or an original piece like Stewart’s “Patty’s Bossa,” they manage to find the right combination of traditional big band riffs and creative variations to achieve a sound that echoes, but doesn’t merely copy the past-big band with a contemporary vibe.
The album opens with “The Code Blue Suite,” a four-part Kubis and Stewart composition that musically channels the life and death experience of the ER. The parts move from the innocence of birth, “Code Pink,” through “Ironman Blues,” which alludes to the man who feels he has the strength to deal with everything on his own, and “The Last Breath Blues,” a portrayal of the human need to find something larger than the self. It ends with “Code Jesus,” a gospel-like assertion of faith. Stewart, a Cannonball Adderley aficionado ends appropriately with a quotation from “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy.”
There is a sweet version of “Poor Butterfly” with featured work by Stewart and Bill Liston. The set also includes tunes by Adderley (“The Sticks” and “Introduction to a Samba”), Oscar Pettiford (“Bohemia After Dark”) and Charles Lloyd (“Song My Lady Sings”). With 14 songs in total, the album offers almost an hour and 20 minutes of exciting big band jazz, plenty to keep discerning listeners smiling.
You can download the recorded tunes from the September 5th JITH concert from my public Dropbox folder. I used a Sony PCM-M10 with the built-in stereo mics.
Friday September 5th 7-9:30 $10
Desert Canyon Golf Club
10440 N Indian Wells Dr. Fountain Hills, AZ 85268