Frank Macchia | Emotions

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Jazz: Big Band Jazz: Orchestral Jazz Moods: Featuring Saxophone
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by Frank Macchia

Contemporary orchestral jazz featuring tenor sax soloist with the Prague Orchestra. Rich modern harmonies with lush orchestrations.
Genre: Jazz: Big Band
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Black Is The Color Of My True Love's Hair
7:18 $0.99
2. Emotions Suite: Anger
7:23 $0.99
3. Emotions Suite: Hope
4:28 $0.99
4. Emotions Suite: Sorrow
5:53 $0.99
5. Emotions Suite: Joy
6:09 $0.99
6. Prayer For Earth
5:22 $0.99
7. Hide and Seek
4:39 $0.99
8. The Lonesome Road
5:01 $0.99
9. Dark Corners
6:41 $0.99
10. Bluesentella
5:44 $0.99
11. Elegy
3:57 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Orchestral jazz with saxophone improvisations make Emotions a rich and moving experience. Composed by Frank Macchia, the music is performed by the Prague Orchestra.
The CD focuses on a four movement suite portraying the emotions Anger, Hope, Sorrow and Joy, featuring Macchia as the tenor sax soloist. Other compositions on the CD include modern arrangements of folk songs such as The Lonesome Road and Black Is The Color Of My True Love’s Hair, as well as other originals by Macchia. Says Jazziz Magazine, “an inventive composer and arranger who deserves comparisons to Gil Evans and Pat Metheny.”
Macchia has worked with Van Dyke Parks, Ella Fitzgerald, Brian Wilson, Clare Fisher, Yes, and the Tonight Show Band; composed and orchestrated on numerous films and television shows. He was the recipient of a National Endowment Grant for Jazz Arts and was a Sundance Labs Composer Fellow in 2004.

Frank Macchia - Biography

Born and raised in San Francisco, CA., Frank started on the clarinet at the age of ten years old. Soon afterward he began studies on bassoon, saxophone and flute. By the age of fourteen he began studying composition, writing jazz and classical pieces for his high school band and orchestra and for jazz ensembles that rehearsed at the local union hall, including trumpeter Mike Vax's Big Band. In 1975-76 Frank wrote jazz/classical hybrid works that were performed by the San Francisco Symphony and local professional jazz musicians, and he composed and conducted an orchestral overture for his high school graduation ceremony. During this time period he also performed and arranged music for contemporary dance bands in the Bay Area.

In 1976 Frank attended Berklee College of Music, studying woodwinds with Joseph Viola, Joe Allard, Steve Grossman and composition/arranging with Herb Pomeroy, Phil Wilson, Greg Hopkins, Tony Texiera, and Ken Pullig. From 1976-80 he performed and composed for the top student ensembles as well as performing with his own ensembles. He received a National Endowment Grant for the Arts to compose a 90 minute continuous jazz/classical suite for large ensemble. He also won Down Beat magazine's DB award for original big band composition in 1979. After graduating with a degree in traditional composition, Frank taught at Berklee at the tender age of 20, as well as performed throughout the New England area with his 8-piece fusion group, 'Booga-Booga'.

In 1981 Frank moved back to the San Francisco area where he continued working as a musician and composer/arranger over the next ten years, performing concerts with such artists as Ella Fitzgerald, Rita Moreno, Tony Bennett, Jack Jones, Clare Fischer, Chuck Mangione, and the Temptations, to name a few. He performed with local groups such as The Bay Area Jazz Composers Orchestra, Mike Vax's Great American Jazz Band, Royal Street, the Dick Bright Orchestra and the Melotones. He also led his own original groups, including The Gleets, Desperate Character and The Frankie Maximum Band. In 1989 he recorded Introducing Frankie Maximum, an eclectic CD that showcased original material in a variety of styles, from new wave to polka. He followed that with the CD Frankie Maximum Goes Way-er Out West, a wild romp through traditional cowboy folksongs, done with new treatments (Ringo as a hip-hop jazz tune!?). This 1991 album received much critical praise including being named one of the top ten albums of the year by the Oakland Tribune

In 1991 Frank toured Germany performing in West Side Story and 42nd Street, and when that tour ended, he found himself in Los Angeles, where he has remained ever since. Since 1992 he has worked as a composer/orchestrator on many films and television projects, including Superman Returns, Fantastic Four, The Guardian, Miracle, X2-Xmen United, Men of Honor, Hide and Seek, Austin Powers:Goldmember, The Contender, The Apt Pupil, Santa Clause 2, and television shows Night Visions, Nickelodeon's Oh Yeah Cartoons, Disney's Oliver Twist, and the Tonight Show. In 2004 he attended the Sundance Composers Lab. In 2003 he completed his CD The Galapagos Suite, based on the animals of the Galapagos Islands, where he and his wife Tracy visited. His CD, "Animals" was released in Fall 2004, featuring Frank on multi-woodwinds and a roster of some of Los Angeles best musicians. The follow-up CD, Mo' Animals featured Billy Childs, Vinnie Colauita, Howard Levy and many other great jazz musicians. In Winter 2006 he completed Emotions, a CD featuring the Prague Orchestra and showcasing Frank’s tenor saxophone skills. He currently lives in Burbank, CA with his wife and son Charlie.



to write a review

Cadence Magazine- Jim Santella

Macchia’s soulful tenor saxophone stands strong
March 2007

Frank Macchia’s soulful tenor saxophone stands strong on Emotions in front of the Prague Orchestra, a complement of strings and woodwinds. He takes this opportunity to step out and express a range of emotions that gets things moving. With his big, round saxophone sound, the artist creates images that convince. It’s a powerful range of emotions; from laid-back and lonesome to angry and brash. Macchia’s pure tone and legato articulation provide sorrowful reflections, while his more vibrant interpretations add a joyful aura to the session. The strings color appropriately, as the saxophonist uses original material to express variety. Macchia’s session allows much room for freedom of expression while basing the program on familiar themes. Two of the selections come from the established public domain of Folk music. “Prayer for Earth” differs from the rest of the program, as Macchia picks up the bass flute and works with synthesizers and a lovely wordless vocal accompaniment from Tracy London. Here, his impression remains faithful to the nature of his prayer, but with a decidedly different approach. The remainder of the program proves soothing in its natural approach, fusing strings with the leaders’s big, bold tenor saxophone presence. Macchia enjoys a free-flowing stream of tenor themes that recall the sheer magic of a “Harlem Nocturne” adventure. The enjoyment that he receives through this program of sincere impressions rubs off on those of us who look for sentiment and depth of feeling in that which we appreciate.

— Jim Santella

Casey Dolan- Los Angeles Times

Rich, lachrymose string writing is aided by impeccable production.
Los Angeles Times- Calendar Downloads Feb. 17, 2007

"Elegy" by Frank Macchia
Macchia has worked as a tenor sax player with some great artists- Ella Fitzgerald, Van Dyke Parks, Brian Wilson, Clare Fischer- and composed and orchestrated several major film scores. On this track from his recent CD "Emotions", he is accompanied by the Prague Orchestra. He has an open, soaring and appropriately poignant sound, with a nod toward the blues. The rich, lachrymose close-voiced string writing is aided by impeccable production; the dynamics are given a wide-screen presentation. It is all reminiscent of Jan Garbarek's work with string sections on ECM in the 70's or Macchia's great influence, Stan Getz and his "Focus" with Eddie Sauter's string arrangements from 1961.
- Casey Dolan

Darryl Winseman

Frank Macchia
What an impressive recording! This is inspiring me to work even harder on my own compositions and arrangements! What a great talent! Keep up the good music.

All About Jazz- George Harris

a long time since music has been quite so daring, yet so beguiling.
Taking a complete break from his humorously arranged Animal series of releases, Frank Macchia has put out a recording featuring the juxtaposition of tenor saxophone and orchestra. Not simply a sax and strings release, Emotions is a sumptuous collection of carefully arranged music with Macchia’s tenor saxophone gliding in and out of the well-conceived passages. This is undoubtedly the best mixture of orchestra and horn since Stan Getz’ sojourn with Eddie Sauter on Focus over four decades ago. Each of Macchia’s movements in “Emotions – Suite for Saxophone and Strings” accurately conveys the title of each feeling. The agitated strings on “Anger” are sliced through by Macchia’s biting tenor. “Joy” and “Hope” are sublime and serene, with gentle, yearning nuances supplied by The Prague Orchestra. “Prayer for Earth,” with Macchia’s bass flute floating throughout the piece, is haunting and reverent. Traditional songs like “The Lonesome Road” and “Black Is The Color Of My True Love’s Hair” are given breathtakingly gorgeous readings, and the leader’s sax is a perfect complement – never intrusive nor inhibited. It is a long time since music has been quite so daring, yet so beguiling. Emotions is a surprise release for anyone looking for some fresh air.- December 6, 2006

Film Score Monthly- Steven Kennedy

a top-notch release worth tracking down
This is the latest in a series of concept albums from orchestrator and composer Frank Macchia. The acclaimed
saxophonist has served as an orchestrator for at least six films so far this year, including Superman Returns and the
upcoming Dreamgirls. Cacophony is the primary label for all of Macchia’s albums. Not long ago, I had a chance to review his new age-inspired Galapagos release. This time, the title Emotions refers to the primary work on this orchestral jazz-based disc that features the composer on saxophone with members of the Prague Orchestra under the
baton of Adam Klemens.

You would not have to read Macchia’s liner notes to hear Stan Getz’s influence in the arrangement of “Black is the
Color of My True Love’s Hair.” In fact, even the title work, a four-movement suite, is reminiscent of some of Getz’s
work on the classic Focus release on Verve. Macchia’s orchestral style also has roots in Eddie Sauter’s arranging
methods. “Anger,” the first movement of the suite, feels a little like Herrmann’s Psycho filtered through film noir with a jazz touch. The remaining movements are equally well-shaped and engaging, both in their musical content and in their orchestral colors. The melding of classical orchestral writing with jazz works very well here. This is not a work of improvisations over simple harmonized string backing, but one that uses countermelodies and subtle shadings to bolster the solo line throughout the suite’s near 25-minute playing time.

The remainder of the disc is filled out with several miniatures. Prayer for Earth is a new age jazz piece with a multilayered recording of a single vocalist and the composer performing synthesizers and bass flute. Hide and Seek takes
us back to the 1960s, with lush sax and orchestral jazz in a waltz tempo. The Lonesome Road is another gorgeously
orchestrated improvisation on this spiritual. The other selections, including the upbeat Bluesentella, are equally

The recording, mastered by Bernie Grundman, is vibrant, with the proper ambience and a clarity that allows for the
finest of listening experiences. This is a top-notch release worth tracking down for fans of orchestral jazz, or even
those who’ve worn out their Stan Getz CDs. —Steven A. Kennedy

Jazz Times Magazine- June 2007- Owen Cordle

This combination of tenor soloist & strings is a lovely and substantive affair.
Jazz Times
June 2007

Emotions (Cacophony)

When he was 15, Frank Macchia heard Focus, the famous Stan Getz Album with string arrangements by Eddie Sauter. Thirty years later, it’s the inspiration behind this album, which features the Prague Orchestra. Macchia plays tenor saxophone – and on one track, bass flute and synthesizer – and he wrote all the arrangements and composed nine of the 11 tunes. The music is dark and rich and definitely programmatic. Parts of it could be a movie soundtrack – an atmospheric score full of romance and intrigue.

Take his “Dark Corners,” for example, a bow to film composer Bernard Herrmann. This one has not only the Getz-Sauter sound, but also a haunting otherworldiness akin to Gil Evans’ arrangements. The Evans influence also appears on “Prayer for Earth,” a blend of Tracy London’s voice, Macchia’s bass flute and synthesizer, and several overdubs of each. The folk song, “Black Is the Color of My True Love’s Hair” is another thrilling mood piece. On his four-part “Emotions” suite he employs strings alone; on others he uses strings, woodwinds and two harps.

Macchia’s tenor isn’t slavishly Getz-like, although there is a certain tonal similarity from time to time. He threads lyrically through these arrangements with graceful fluency and a nice bulk in his sound. Taken together, this combination of tenor soloist and strings is a lovely and substantive affair.