Magazine article IAJRC Journal

Beginnings

Magazine article IAJRC Journal

Beginnings

Article excerpt

Nuance Crusaders

Beginnings

Self Produced (no # assigned)

Steve Hashimoto (el-b, ldr, arr)/Mike Levin (ss, ts, cl, fl)/Leandro Lopez-Varady (keys)/Heath Chappell (d)/Amy Yassinger (vcl-trk 5, 11)

Parents' Grace (Flamenco)/I Know It Will Be Better (Swing)/Soon We Will Be Together (Blues)/Reflections In A Mirror (Bossa)/Brazilian Fantasy (Samba)/Giving (Bolero). TT 32:55 plus intros

The aptly named Beginnings by Nuance Crusaders is an unusual compact disc for a couple of reasons: Firstly, the person responsible for its creation, Chicago drummer Mark R. Baldridge doesn't appear on any of the tracks, although he is responsible for all of the composing. Secondly, even though there are 12 tracks on the CD, there are only six different musical selections; the first six being scaled down versions of the latter ones. This strange configuration was caused by studio engineering problems culminating in the elimination of several prospective titles from the final product. Rather than delaying the issue of the CD any further, Baldridge decided to release the unaffected material instead of going back into the studio to try and recreate the same "feeling" again for the missing pieces. I look forward to possibly hearing these on a future CD.

I first met Mark Baldridge several years ago at my local jazz society in Brookfield, IL. One evening during a live jazz event Mr. Baldridge surprised everyone by announcing that that the band was going to play one of his own jazz compositions. The room fell silent and we were treated to a song that mesmerized the audience that night; Brazilian Fantasy sung by the young lady who also sings it on the disc. Since that time, Mark has introduced several further compositions to the jazz public in a similar way.

For this project Baldridge used his jazz society connections to recruit several of Chicago's finest jazzmen to play on the album. The leader of the group (and co-producer/arranger) is veteran Windy City bassist Steve Hashimoto from the band Suenos Latin-Jazz. The three other Suenos band members also take part in the recording; their familiarity with each other giving the music a well-knit sound. …

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