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Various Artists | Family Feeling

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Bruce Barth Dick Oatts Terell Stafford

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United States - Pennsylvania

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Jazz: Contemporary Jazz Jazz: Chamber Jazz Moods: Instrumental
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Family Feeling

by Various Artists

The stellar faculty at Temple University in Philadelphia, a city steeped in jazz history, play as a true family of educators dedicated to the art form on this album of songs composed/arranged by Bruce Barth.
Genre: Jazz: Contemporary Jazz
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Blues for Mr. Tyner
Terell Stafford, Dick Oatts, Bruce Barth, Tim Warfield, Jr., David Wong & Byron Landham
6:35 $0.99
2. Ven Conmigo
Terell Stafford, Dick Oatts, Bruce Barth, Tim Warfield, Jr., David Wong & Byron Landham
6:00 $0.99
3. Family Feeling
Terell Stafford, Dick Oatts, Bruce Barth, Tim Warfield, Jr., David Wong & Byron Landham
7:03 $0.99
4. Ongoing Stories
Terell Stafford, Dick Oatts, Bruce Barth, Tim Warfield, Jr., David Wong & Byron Landham
6:17 $0.99
5. Mode for Trane
Terell Stafford, Dick Oatts, Bruce Barth, Tim Warfield, Jr., David Wong & Byron Landham
8:08 $0.99
6. Why Not
Terell Stafford, Dick Oatts, Bruce Barth, Tim Warfield, Jr., David Wong & Byron Landham
7:19 $0.99
7. Warm Night
Terell Stafford, Dick Oatts, Bruce Barth, Tim Warfield, Jr., David Wong & Byron Landham
8:09 $0.99
8. T Staff Flies Again
Terell Stafford, Dick Oatts, Bruce Barth, Tim Warfield, Jr., David Wong & Byron Landham
8:14 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
There's an old saw that insists, "You can choose your friends, but you can't choose your family." That may ring true after another tense Thanksgiving dinner, but it's vigorously refuted by the members of this stellar sextet. Make no mistake - Terell Stafford, Dick Oatts, Bruce Barth, Tim Warfield, David Wong and Byron Landham are a family - and one formed entirely by choice, through ties forged on the bandstand, on the road, and in the classroom.

That latter aspect is particularly key here. In keeping with the alliterative nature of the album's title, we can add another key word: "faculty." All six members of this band are not only virtuosic musicians but gifted educators, brought together by Terell Stafford to make up part of the renowned jazz program at Temple University. Which brings up another pair of Fs: Father Figures. Which these six gentlemen have become to a rising generation of aspiring jazz musicians, passing along knowledge gleaned through experience in the time-honored tradition of jazz's venerated oral history.

What better way to teach than via example? Hence the music of Family Feeling, which serves as an album-length master class in all of the aspects that make up an acclaimed jazz artist: taste, wit, intelligence, surprise, communication, emotion, and above all a deeply felt sense of swing. Give this album a listen and you'll feel assured that the music's future is in the best of hands.

All eight of the memorable pieces that comprise Family Feeling stem from the prolific pen of pianist Bruce Barth, and here the focus must shift from the first half of the title to the second. Feeling is paramount to each of these tunes: both the profound feeling that the music transmits and evokes, and the sensitive feeling that Barth has in abundance for his bandmates' voices. As he comments in his own notes for this recording, Barth wrote this compositions with the sounds of all six of these masters echoing in his mind, and the thrilling interplay that each brings forth is the stunning result.

Whether by birth, by circumstance, or by virtue of their involvement with Temple, all six artists also belong to another family: the storied musical family of the city of Philadelphia. Family Feeling includes tributes to two of their forebears in that gritty, soulful clan: pianist McCoy Tyner, a Philly native, and his most notable employer, John Coltrane. While the iconic saxophonist wasn't born there, he spent some of his most formative years in the City of Brotherly Love, whose spirit always invigorated Coltrane's music.

The round robin opening of "Blues for Mr. Tyner" gives each of the horn players their brief turn in the spotlight before taking off on its brisk pace. Stafford's darting trumpet gets the first full solo, propelled, as it has been so often in the trumpeter's own bands, by Barth's exuberant comping, which features enough of his emphatic left hand to hint at Tyner's influence without becoming an imitation. Oatts' supple alto wends its way through, followed by the burly, unhurried warmth of Warfield's tenor. "Mode for Trane," meanwhile, couples an angular melody with the modal foundation familiar from Coltrane's classic recordings, with a bracing turn from Warfield and a clamorous tempest from Barth over the roiling rhythms of Wong and Landham.

Barth's diverse influences make this an admirably eclectic if cohesive set, running the spectrum from the Afro-Caribbean accents of "Ven Conmigo" to the sultry balladry of "Warm Night" or the in-the-moment freedom of "Why Not?" In the former, Barth dances agilely while Wong digs deep into the groove, while "Warm Night" elicits a twilit ambience from Stafford and the latter explodes into a blistering Warfield run, serpentine cascades from Oatts and a dynamic barrage leveled by Landham.

The relaxed but inviting swing of the title tune evokes all the aforementioned meanings of family, from the lively interplay between the musicians to the celebratory Philly Soul vibe at its core. "Ongoing Stories" focuses on the shared educational mission of the sextet's members, with a wistful optimism that looks forward to the bright futures of their students. Finally, "T Staff Flies Again" pays specific homage to Terell Stafford, an honor to which the trumpeter responds with a solo that defies gravity with his trademark grace and incisiveness.

Perhaps "choice" isn't quite the right word to apply to the way that these six artists have become a family. In the end it paints only part of the picture, one which has been filled in by a colorful combination of circumstance, chemistry, drive and, as always in jazz, improvisation. There can be no doubt when it comes to feeling, however; this music was made from it and is deeply imbued with it. It's now left to the listener to absorb it, and be welcomed into this family affair.

-- Shaun Brady
Philadelphia, July 2018



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Family Feeling - what a feeling!
Wow...you can feel and hear the love on this album between these brothers of jazz. The music is fresh and the interplay between musicians is complex and beautiful at the same time.