Mike Kaplan Nonet | How's That?

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Mike Kaplan Nonet

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Jazz: Modern Big Band Jazz: Bebop Moods: Type: Improvisational
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How's That?

by Mike Kaplan Nonet

An exciting jazz ensemble featuring 6 horns (3 saxes, 3 brass) and an intuitive 3 man rhythm section performing original arrangements in a variety of styles and genres all filtered through the 21st century Jazz sensibilities of the leader and bandmembers.
Genre: Jazz: Modern Big Band
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. How's That?
4:44 album only
2. For C.M.
10:20 album only
3. The Crawl
4:57 album only
4. In Reality
7:35 album only
5. Melody For My Mom
10:10 album only
6. Firm Roots
6:51 album only
7. Sudden Stranger
7:57 album only
8. Bye-Ya
5:35 album only
9. Orange Circle Funk
8:37 album only
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
"The Mike Kaplan Nonet is one of New Jersey's hidden jazz treasures. Their music is an irresistable mix of big band bravado and small ensemble adventurousness. At its burly, boisterous best, the Nonet has the drive and excitement of the mid-size bands Charles Mingus recorded with."
George Kanzler/Newark Star Ledger

The Mike Kaplan Nonet has been performing in various venues around the NYC area since 1987. The unit combines the cohesion and strength of a big band with the spontaneity and looseness of a small group. The Nonet features a tight six-man horn section(3 brass and 3 reeds) and a flexible, intuitive rhythm section that has played together in various units since the early '80s. A partial list of people and bands that members of the band have performed and/or recorded with includes the Toshiko Akiyoshi Big Band, Al Foster, David Liebman, Buddy Rich, Dr. John, Chris Potter, Liza Minnelli, the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra, Ray Barretto, Joe Williams, Art Farmer, Tony Trischka, Pat Martino, Peter Frampton, Chico Mendoza's Latin Jazz Dream Band and Blood, Sweat and Tears.

The repertoire of the band consists of original arrangements by the leader and other members of the band of their own compositions and also rearrangements of tunes by Monk, Mingus, Ellington, Cedar Walton, George Adams and others. The styles that the band plays in a typical set span the gamut from Swing to Latin to New Orleans 2nd line R 'n B to Postbop and beyond.




to write a review


BIG sound, kewel arrangements
It's a bit more polished than at Wallace's gigs (long may that place RIP) but that should make more people want to buy it. So buy it!

geo carl kaplan

Good clean clear jazz. Great sound. Original.
Clear sound, good contrast, excellent beat, and good jazz. An original sound - not quite Dixie or Chicago,or any of the comtemporary sounds - an original sound.

Vangelis Aragiannis, Greece

Saxophonist Mike Kaplan is a William Paterson University graduate and has studied with great saxophonists such as Warne Marsh and Joe Lovano. Early on he showed his preference for the sound of big bands and his interest in the music of Duke Ellington, Charlie Mingus, Thad Jones and Carla Bley. It’s indicative that the first record he bought was “The Thelonious Monk Orchestra at Town Hall”. He started writing charts for six horns and rhythm section in the early '80s. Some years later he formed his nonet using three saxophones, two trumpets, one trombone and a classic rhythm section with Matt King (piano), Doug Weiss (bass) and Pete MacDonald (drums), three musicians who have worked together as a trio and have gained a cohesion that is very apparent.

“How’s That?”, the nonet’s first release, depicts Mike Kaplan’s aesthetics and perspective for the sound of the nonet, as well as his philosophy for jazz itself. Jazz aims not only to the mind, but to the heart and the body of the listener too. His arrangements are modern and delicate, but they retain a traditional warmth, directness and sense of fun. Kaplan is also the producer of the album and the composer of the majority of the tracks. The title track’s melody, the style and the tempo changes of “For CM” (dedicated to Charlie Mingus) show how much the great bassist’s music fascinated Kaplan (Mingus himself often used the nonet setting in his recordings). All of the soloists are excellent, but Ben Williams’ trombone, Bob Hanlon’s alto and Ed Xiques’ baritone stand out. The fact that Kaplan himself solos just once makes clear how he perceives the group function of his ensemble. It’s also remarkable that the three compositions on the cd not penned by Kaplan were written by some of his favorite pianists (Thelonious Monk, Cedar Walton and Mickey Tucker).

The sonic completeness and the joy this album offers are the evidence that the long time that separates the group’s forming from it’s recording debut was worth the wait. We hope that its next album will be released soon.