East Coast Cool

East Coast Cool

John McNeil, Trumpet
Alan Chase, Baritone Saxophone
John Hebert, Bass
Matt Wilson, Drums, slide whistle

available for purchase at Amazon.com

John McNeil: East Coast Cool

OmniTone 15211

After Gerry Mulligan died few years back, I was asked to write some arrangements for a Mulligan tribute concert. I was familiar with a fair amount of Gerry's music, but I had never really studied it closely or analyzed his arrangements. When I started getting into it, I found myself gaining more and more respect for his arranging skills, especially his ability to get a wide range of sounds out of just trumpet, baritone, bass and drums.

At some point it occurred to me that it might be interesting to apply some of Mulligan's arranging concepts to contemporary music, music that may or may not have chord changes or a fixed form.

It took a few years and a lot of trial and error to come up with something cohesive. The result is East Coast Cool, my latest CD (released on OmniTone in January, 2006).

The music mixes some of the control and tight arrangement of the pianoless Mulligan groups with the free, open-ended improvisation of contemporary jazz. So far, it's gotten great reviews, and the CD-buying public seems to like it as well.

East Coast Cool would not have been possible (or at least not successful) without the input of the musicians, namely, Allan Chase on baritone saxophone, John Hebert on bass and Matt Wilson on drums. Allan was with me on the project from the beginning, and rehearsed tirelessly with different combinations of bass players and drummers. His musical insight solved a lot of problems.

When we added John and Matt, we knew instantly that we had found the right guys for the job. Hebert's time and note choice and sense of arrangement made all the difference in the world, and when he hooked up with Matt Wilson (a creative wizard without peer), the music just took off.

Because East Coast Cool is under my name, I get most of the credit. The credit for this CD is rightfully shared among the musicians--they contributed to every tune and every arrangement and it simply wouldn't have happened without them.

Finally, a special thanks to Jim Clouse at Park West Studio for his attention to detail and his great instincts.

Thanks, guys.

John McNeil, 2004