Making great music from ordinary tunes is a unique speciality of jazz artists. They’ve been doing that for about a century. Now, pianist John Stetch dips into his childhood memories of TV themes from the 1970s and 1980s to find some chord changes that nourish his creativity. Accompanying him on the ride are Doug Weiss, bass, and Rodney Green, drums.
Of course I didn’t recognize any of the themes. Maybe a wisp of “Star Trek” and a smidge of “The Flintstones.” Well..OK…sure I recognized the Bugs Bunny cartoon theme, but that was originally from the movie cartoons, not television.
What’s important is the fresh fun and light-hearted swinging music these three musicians find together. It is tempting to think all of them watch way too much TV, but that would be unkind. Like true connoisseurs, the players give each one of the CD’s 12 tracks a different flavor. There is no attempt to match the improv with the spirit of the TV show.
“Rocky and Bullwinkle” rumbles a bit, with several brief drum solos. But mostly it is straight ahead jazz of the grown-up sort maintained at a brisk tempo, rather than becoming a love song for Boris and Natasha. Another slow one, based on the theme from “All My Children” does capture a slower time when people cared more about each other.
But really…what would be fun at a party is just to slip this CD into the digital changer and watch the listener response to “The Six Million Dollar Man.” That would be worth an extra trip to the punch bowl.
“tv trio” (Brux Records)