Elliott Caine is batting one thousand with the release of his third CD. The first two, Orientation and Le Supercool received wide acclaim and Blues From Mars on Rhombus Records is going to do the same. Elliott has assembled a talented as well as large group of musicians all of whom contribute to this ensemble in significant ways. "Blues for the Revolution" the first track has an uncommon opening featuring baritone sax. The baritone is just the right setting for the hot trumpet solo that follows. Elliott chose to use a septet on "Blues for the Revolution", but he thins the ranks to as few as four players, using only the necessary instrumentation to communicate his musical meaning.
The CD has ten tracks nine of which are original pieces that Elliot Caine wrote. The songs show you just how sophisticated Mr. Caine's musical thought is and how versatile he is as a composer.
"I Thought About You" has not only the distinction of being the only piece of music not composed by Elliott Caine, it also is the smallest ensemble on the CD." I Thought About You" closes the album with a calm quiet sensibility that is the opposite of the opener. It demonstrates nicely the range that Mr. Caine and his ensemble are at home in.
The CD features many sounds from the inflections of the 1960's and 1970's through Afro-Cuban and lyrical ballads. Blues From Mars also features a wide instrumentation. In addition to the trumpet and flugelhorn there are two saxophones, a tenor and a baritone. There are electric and acoustic bass, piano, and vibraphone. There are congas. There are the rare and rarely well-used Theremin and Tannerin.
Add to the above musicians with distinct voices such as Elliott, Justo Almario, Carl Randall and John Rangel and you have over an hour of superb jazz conversation played in many of the dialects of the language that is jazz.
This album will also be special to Angelinos and fans of KKJZ 88.1 FM because of "Fields of Jazz," which is a tribute to the late Sam Fields, longtime disc jockey and jazz fan. Sam was a well loved air personality at KKJZ since 1990. Sam began his jazz radio career at KKGO in 1972. His soothing voice, knowledge of jazz and excellent programming set him apart from other announcers and makes him a missed and much honored friend.
It is necessary to mention that while this is a superb ensemble CD it is also a great album for the trumpet lover in all of us. Elliott can converse with any musician using his horn. Mr. Caine is a very fluent, nuanced player.
I believe that this album is worth the investment and will be a welcome addition to any jazz collection. I also think it could become one of those albums that gets frequent play in your regular jazz rotation.