When I asked Bob Schulz what would be a good representation of his work with the world-famous Turk Murphy band, he said that anything from the early ‘80s would probably work. He also admitted that “I did so many with him . . . I don’t even know the names of some of those albums.“ But he finally said, “Well the Concert in the Park was very good.” That album was recorded live in 1986 and is on the Merry Makers Record Company label. But, he says, “They’re actually all good,” because Turk “was structured and very organized . . . What he put on for a recording session was always good.”
It seems only right to mention at least one album with Bob’s long-standing Frisco Jazz Band. Asked about the many albums by this band, he says, “Well you know one that I really like is, it’s the first one; it’s got my mug on the front.” Simply titled Bob Schulz and his Frisco Jazz Band, it was released in 1991 on Jazzology.
About his album with “his Chicago Rhythm Kings,” (Oh! Play that Thing!, Jazzology, 2001) Schulz says, “Oh, that’s a good one. I love that.” “[T]hat was a fun thing to do . . . we’d been playing at the Atlanta Jazz Party, and . . . the guy said, ‘I want you to go in and play the other kind of music . . .’ ‘Cause out there, nobody knew, they all thought I just did old traditional jazz.” Among the “names” on that record are trombonist Bob Havens and guitarist Marty Grosz
Randy Sabien’s first three albums are discussed in Chapter 19. He re-released In a Fog on his Fiddlehead label in 1999, and Fiddlehead Blues in 2003. The Sound of Fish Dreaming is from 1993. Paintin’ the Canvas was recorded live at Big Top Chautauqua in August 1994; the band is many of his earlier collaborators – Jeff Eckels, Dan Kleiman, Clyde Stubblefield, Dane Richeson on percussion and guitarist Jim Ouska. Rhythm and Bows was released, like all the others, on Fiddlehead in 2007, and uses the same band as Paintin’ the Canvas, with the addition of Matt Turner on cello. A different feature of this album is that frequently Sabien has overdubbed himself to produce multiple violin parts.
When I asked Matt Turner about the albums that he liked the most that he had played on, his first question was, “Do they have to be jazz albums?” When I said no, he suggested the following. “I would say Bill Carrothers’ Armistice 1918 album; that’s a desert island type for me. I think the Stephen Foster The Voices That Are Gone. Another album that Bill and I are on together with a clarinetist name Jean-Marc Foltz; it’s called To the Moon, and it’s on Ayler Records, as in Albert Ayler.” Armistice 1918, which also features vocalist Peg Carrothers and New York stalwarts Bill Stewart on drums and Drew Gress on bass, is on the Sketch label. The Stephen Foster project is on another French label, Illusions, and features Matt, Bill and Peg. To the Moon, one of Turner’s very favorite records, is arguably not jazz, but it is stimulating improvisational music, with considerable classical and avant-garde overtones. Another album he mentioned is How the Light Gets In; the music of Leonard Cohen, with a group called Fantastic Merlins. . His favorite of his own records, is Crushed Smoke (Tautology 014, 2001), which is a solo cello album. This is an extremely experimental improvisational music album, and most listeners will not consider it jazz (nor does Turner). Personally, the author also recommend Matt’s duo album with John Harmon (also from 2001) on Wisconsin’s Stellar Records, Outside In. It is a collection of jazz standards and Turner/Harmon improvisations.
Greg Balfany and Karyn Quinn are featured on the 2002 album produced by the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, Getting’ To It, with their colleagues in the La Crosse Jazz Quintet, pianist Chris Frye, drummer Tim Henke and trumpeter David Cooper (see Chapter 16). The album has an interesting mix of originals and jazz tunes by lesser and better known composers.
As mentioned in the text, Mary Louise Knutson has put out two critically acclaimed CDs with her trio, Call Me When You Get There (2001) and In the Bubble (2011), both on Meridian Jazz. In the classic piano trio format, the group explores creatively arranged standards and Knutson originals.
In 2015, Sue Orfield emailed me the following information about the albums she’s on about which she felt most strongly (two years after we had a long conversation).
Sue Orfield Band: These two albums are one the list because they feature my original songs, and writing/arranging/playing originals is really what makes me tick. 2009, BONK! – Guitar, bass, drums, sax. Instrumental, from rock to blues to jazz. 2013, Fight The Good Fight – Guitar, bass, drums, sax, vocals, horn section. Rock, blues, jazz, bluegrass, cartoon music.
AcoustiHoo: This album is my first foray into exploring bluegrass instrumentation with my horn, and I hope to do more of this. Also, this group was my brainchild, so I’m partial to it . . . 2013, AcoustiHoo – acoustic guitar, upright bass, fiddle, mandolin, vocals, sax. Americana, world folk, gypsy jazz.
The Tiptons Saxophone Quartet & Drums: I’m proud to have been a member of this group since 1997, and these albums (the most recent additions to the 11 CD catalog of the Tiptons) are representative of the quirky sax quartet that has taken me all over the world. 2014, Tiny Lower Case – features the quartet and their unique original sound, but with more use of vocals. 2010, Strange Flower – again, uniquely groove oriented sax quartet, featuring music written by each member of the Tiptons.
Michael Janisch gave me a copy of his album Purpose Built. It was released on his label, Whirlwind Recordings, in 2009. It contains mostly originals, with a few well-known jazz standards, performed by mix and match quartets and quintets including some distinguished colleagues including saxophonist Walter Smith III, drummer Jonathan Blake, guitarist Mike Moreno and pianist Aaron Goldberg.
The album discussed in the section about Tom Gullion is Carswell, Tom’s self-released CD, which is available through http://www.tingjing.com/tg There are two separate bands on the recording – a “Wisconsin” quintet with David Cooper, Tim Whalen, Mark Urness and Dane Richeson accompanying Gullion; and a “Chicago” quartet, which includes, however, two Wisconsin natives, bassist Shawn Sommer (Stevens Point native) and drummer Ernie Adams (Milwaukee native), and pianist Vijay Tellis-Nayak, with the saxophonist. The album features hard-driving contemporary jazz.
Gullion’s 2014 album Time It Is (Momentous Records) is a different mix. There are three Gullion originals, but also interpretations of pieces by Sting, Billy Strayhorn, Rodgers and Hart, Paul Williams and the late Swedish jazz pianist Esbjörn Svensson. The band is the same as the Wisconsin quintet above, except with Ernie Adams replacing Dane Richeson on drums.