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Published: 2014/08/19
by Ron Hart

Dave Ullmann 8
Corduroy

Little Sky Records

For many children of the 1970s, television was a key proponent to any kind of jazz to which they were exposed.

Whether it was Sesame Street and Fat Albert or sitcoms like Barney Miller and Taxi or such era-appropriate cop shows as Cannon and Mannix, the music showcased on these programs arguably had just as much of an influence on a generation of jazz musicians as Kind of Blue and A Love Supreme. Any fan of deep crate hip-hop will be quick to recognize the orchestrations of Bob James, Tom Scott, Lalo Schifrin and Jack Elliott from some of their favorite beats, no doubt.

However, when this fusion of warmth, aesthetic and groove is being recreated in real time by a group of musicians as fluid in CBS as they are in CTI, it simply doesn’t get any better. And on the third album from guitarist Dave Ullmann, he turns his 16-mm memories of growing up in Abraham Beame’s Manhattan to life with the help of an equally nostalgic octet of New York City’s finest players of the modern age, namely such proven leaders as trombonist Brian Drye, Mike McGinnis on clarinet and drummer Vinnie Sperrazza.

The pure strength of this large ensemble, further enhanced by cornetist Kirk Knuffke, Chris Dingman on the vibes, alto sax player Loren Stillman and Gary Wang on the double-bass, is clear on quality original material like “The Chase” and “Ocelot”, conjuring high speed car chases down obscure streets in pre-gentrified Brooklyn in an old Ford Granada. Meanwhile, you can identify the nostalgic sentiments of old home movies of kids playing out in the street in the arrangements of “Moving On.”

For the throwback network crime pilot in your mind, Corduroy is indeed the perfect soundtrack.

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