Aug 7, 2009
Trumpeter Rod McGaha isn't out to break any new ground on his latest CD, A Gentle Man. He'd rather take on some of the classic tunes of the past, and like Marcus Roberts on his latest work, think those sounds through via his contemporary viewpoint. The result is an enjoyable string-filled CD.
McGaha knows his sources well. He will channel Louis Armstrong on "Honeysuckle Rose", recall Clifford Brown's With Strings sessions on "I'm Confessin That I love You" and bring a Chet Baker sound to "When I Fall In Love". He's not afraid to show these influences; rather, he tips his cap to them, and plays on.
The arrangements by pianist Jeff Steinberg are not all faithful, however. He runs "Happy Together" through a string arrangement that recalls "Eleanor Rigby", and compliments that sound with Chris Wolters' organ. The title track is an original composition by Steinberg, and McGaha gives a sensitive reading to the ballad in a way that would make his old mentor, Clark Terry, smile.
Click here to listen to the "How Long Has This Been Going On" to hear a lovely string section set up McGaha for a plaintive rendition of the bluesy standard.