Comme Ci Comme Ca (1991)

Fred Wesley

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Track Listing: 

Smile Stacey  6:12
Love In LA  5:19
On Green Dolphin Street {Washington-Kaper, Leo Feist}  7:19
Comme Ci Comme Ca 5:46
Love Child 4:56
Just Like That 4:15
This One Is For You 5:29
Moose The Mooch 4:14
Prayer 6:10


Producer: Stephen Meyner and Fred Wesley

Trombone: Fred Wesley
Alto Saxophone: Maceo Parker
Tenor, Soprano Saxophones, Flute: Karl Denson
Trumpet, Flugelhorn: Hugh Ragin 
Guitar: Rodney Jones  
Piano: Peter Madsen 
Bass: Anthony Cox 
Drums: Bill Stewart 
Vocals: Teresa Carroll

Rating:  RC: ?   MT: ** 1/2


RC: No writing credits given on the CD.

MT: "Comme Ci, Comme Ca", Fred Wesley's second outing on the Antilles label falls much into the same boat as his first album for the label New Friends. It's clearly a straight up jazz outing. The tunes sound to be a mix of originals and standards - but I can't really say for sure if there are any originals - cause no writing credits were given in the packaging. As on New Friends, Maceo Parker is featured on several tunes, and he uses basically the same rhythm section, except that pianist Geri Allen is replaced by Peter Madsen. Highlights of the album for me are "Just Like That" a bluesy track which leans towards the funky side of thangs and the interesting interpretation of the standard "On Green Dolphin Street". For a song that's been played SO MANY TIMES - the excellent horn arrangment provides much needed interest, which keeps this from sounding like the same old shit. It's also a trip to hear Maceo to blow on a jazz standard like this. Even Maceo's 'jazz' albums have large doses of blues and soul flavor injected in them, so it's interesting to hear him blow on a standard fake book tune like "On Green Dolphin Street". Vocalist Teresa Carroll (who interestingly enough had writing credits on Fred's first album on Antilles) appears on "This One Is For You" and the cover of Charlie Parker's classic "Moose The Mooch". Teresa has a strong voice and sounds good, but some of her phrasing in "This One Is For You" makes me wonder if she's done a lot of showtunes? (just a totally random thought). It's interesting to hear a vocal version of "Moose The Mooch" which I've only heard as an instrumental before. It's a beast of a melody to sing, and she does a good job of handling it. But while Fred's performances are excellent as are those of some of the other musicians on this album, I think overall the album is good at best. My main complaint is the drums - I just don't think Bill Stewart swings hard enough that straight ahead jazz fans would really dig it. And overall - the music on this album is nothing new. This kind of jazz music has been done over and over for more than thirty years. Peter Madsen's piano work is excellent and gives it a more modern jazz feel - as do the brilliant horn arrangements, but this album is good jazz not excellent jazz or innovative new music as Fred did with funk music during his time with James Brown and P-Funk.