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Enough living in the past. Up until now we’ve been talking about artists who are no longer alive or who are, shall we say, in or near the twilight of their careers.

For the next few weeks, we’ll discuss artists who are still very much alive and musically active.

During my 8 ½ years hosting “Saturday Night Jazz”, I learned a lot of things. One of the most important was to not pre-judge an album based upon my familiarity (or lack thereof) with the lead artist or other personnel involved in its creation.

I had never heard of Chris Tedesco before that day in mid-March of 2010 when his album, “Living The Dream”, landed in my mailbox at home. I soon discovered that he is one hell of a jazz trumpet player and composer, with a long string of credits to his name that just about any trumpeter would envy. He is, simply put, the best jazz trumpet player you never heard of before.

Chris Tedesco "Living The Dream"

Chris Tedesco “Living The Dream”

Before I go any further, I should explain that, with few exceptions (Jackie Ryan, Ella, Dave Frishberg, Mia Vermillion, and perhaps a handful of others), jazz vocalists usually don’t float my boat. I mention that because four of the ten tracks that comprise this album are vocals, featuring Tony Galla. Any perceived lack of enthusiasm for these tracks on my part should not be taken as a reflection of my opinion of Mr. Galla’s skills.

The personnel vary considerably from one track to the next, including an 18-piece big band and a 30-piece orchestra. That is far too many people for me to mention them all here, but I can point out some notables:

Chris Tedesco (duh), trumpet
Glen Berger, tenor sax on “Shuffle This” and several other tracks
Bob McChesney, trombone solo on “I’ve Got Some Kind Of Rhythm”
Rick Keller, tenor sax solo on “I’ve Got Some Kind Of Rhythm”
Brian Scanlon, alto sax solo on “The Opener” and “Race To The Bottom”

The rhythm section for all except “Willow Weep For Me” and “It’s A Man’s World” are:

Corey Allen, piano
Kevin Axt, bass
Dave Tull, drums

The album opens with one of the four Tedesco originals to be found here, “Shuffle This.” The first time I took this album to KMHD with me, “Shuffle This” was the track I played. It’s an energetic, feel-good song that grabs you from the first note, as does the next song, “Get On Board”.

“Race To The Bottom” was written by Tedesco and Jim McMillen, and is reminiscent of the big band numbers that appeared in the movies of the 1930’s and 40’s. You almost expect to hear Bob Hope and Bing Crosby come running around the corner followed by Dorothy Lamour, all being chased by Peter Lorre and Sydney Greenstreet, or some other character actor villains from that era.

“I’ve Got Some Kind Of Rhythm” is another Tedesco original. After an opening that includes everyone it settles down a bit and we hear Tedesco and the rhythm section, followed three and a half minutes in by Scanlon’s alto sax solo.

“The Opener” and “Lewistonia”, written by Jim McMillen and Tedesco respectively, are the final two instrumentals and neither disappoints.

All in all, “Living The Dream” is a great album and, in this reviewer’s opinion, would be a wonderful addition to your personal playlist, for a Saturday or any other night.

For more information about Chris Tedesco and his music, visit his web site. http://christedesco.com/

November 2014: Chris has posted several songs from this album to YouTube, and you can listen to them here:

Thanks for reading this.

Al Evans
Wood Village, Oregon

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