Swamp Thang / Frank Macchia
All original new music by Grammy Nominated Composer Frank Macchia.
Imagine Thelonius Monk, King Curtis, Captain Beefheart and Professor Longhair all playing some wild blues-funk-jazz with crazy chromatic melodies! Add a dose of humor and a dollop of cajun seasoning and you get Swamp Thang! Featuring all new music by Frank, this band is out to have FUN!!
Featuring John Rosenberg on piano, organ and keyboards, Ken Rosser and Eric Jensen on electric guitars, Tom Lockett on electric bass and Frank Briggs on drums and percussion. Also featuring special guests Alex Iles on trombone and Wayne Bergeron on trumpet. The new CD features 12 all new tunes by Frank!
Welcome to the first album of my new band, Swamp Thang. I've tried to take the genres and styles of funk, blues, New Orleans second line and jazz and incorporate twisted chromatic melodies as well as some fun odd meters to make a crazy mish-mash of instrumental tunes that are weird but hopefully fun! We start the set with Discombobulated, a 5/4 calypso-ish feel that has a happy little hook line. Next, I try to channel a James Brown groove with Funky Grease Bucket, enhanced by a horn section and some greasy bari-sax. Hopscotch is a driving 7/4 second line feel where I do my impression of kids jumping on a hopscotch grid. I was really pleased with the way the band played my ballad, Shhhh! This was written for my son Charlie, as a calming ballad for him. Mumbo Jumbo, Dumbo Gumbo is your basic 12 bar blues with a jagged Thelonious Monk style head. Butterfingers features a fat groove in 13, with a blues melody doubled with tenor sax and bass clarinet.
Swamp Thang is your down n dirty swamp blues, featuring Eric Jensen on a deep bluesy guitar solo. Jungle Dance is a kind of jungle drum feel blues, and features Frank Briggs doing his mallets on toms thing. Chuggin' depicts a train coming by, from far away to right in your back yard, then it fades away again. Ken takes a killer solo, as Eric plays a cool delayed guitar part to set up the groove. Sick Shuffle is a blues in 2 keys, and features special guest Alex Iles on trombone as well as the whole band. Rhueben's Rhythmic Rhumba is a cool jazz rhumba vibe that features great solos by John Rosenberg and Eric Jensen. We end the set with Upsy Daisy, a tune with no real set form! This is my only "stream-of-conciousness" composition on the album, and features a dual bitonal key idea along with many meter changes. Frank Briggs is featured on drums along with some guest trombone by Alex. I want to make a special point of mentioning Tom Lockett on the bass who laid down the grooves and kept us all in line throughout this project!
1. (6:09) Discombobulated
2. (4:31) Funky Grease Bucket
3. (4:40) Hopscotch
4. (5:55) Shhhh!
5. (5:53) Mumbo Jumbo, Dumbo Gumbo
6. (5:03) Butterfingers
7. (4:47) Swamp Thang
8. (6:47) Jungle Dance
9. (5:11) Chuggin'
10. (7:58) Sick Shuffle
11. (6:38) Rhueben's Rhythmic Rhumba
12. (4:45) Upsy Daisy
Frank Macchia- tenor and baritone saxes, piccolo, flute, clarinet and bass clarinet
John Rosenberg- piano, electric piano, organ
Ken Rosser- electric guitar
Eric Jensen- electric guitar
Tom Lockett- electric bass
Frank Briggs- drums, percussion
Alex Iles- trombone
Wayne Bergeron- trumpet
All music composed by Frank Macchia © 2011 Framac Music (BMI)
Recorded on October 15, 2011 by Frank Macchia and Frank Briggs
Produced and Mixed by Frank Macchia
Mastered by Rich Breen
Cover Art by Guy Vasilovich
CD Photos by Suzuki K
Ken Franckling's Jazz Notes
Review by Ken Franckling
L.A.-based saxophonist Frank Macchia has a dandy here. Swamp Thang is his newest band, and its focus is revved up at the intersection of funk, the blues and some irresistible New Orleans Second Line shuffle beat. The cacophony that opens the set on "Discombobulated" makes it clear this will be a wild ride – and the leader's versatility serves him well throughout the session. The rhythm section aces are keyboard player John Rosenberg, bassist Tom Lockett and drummer Frank Briggs. Eric Jensen and Ken Rosser share electric guitar duties. Jensen is particularly fine on the funky blues title track. The sextet is joined by two guests: trombonist Alex Iles and trumpeter Wayne Bergeron. Chances are you'll dig the variety of music here, the funky and unbridled fun sides of its makers - and the wild cover art. Yes, jazz can be fun - and should be crazy fun once in a while.
Los Angeles Jazz Scene CD Reviews
Review by Scott Yanow
Saxophonist-arranger-composer Frank Macchia has a new project. While he formerly led an oversized big band that played unusual and often-humorous modern jazz versions of folk songs, Swamp Thang is something different.
In Swamp Thang, Macchia's woodwinds are joined by keyboardist John Rosenberg, both Ken Rosser and Eric Jensen on electric guitars, electric bassist Tom Lockett and drummer Frank Briggs. On their debut CD, they perform 12 of its leader's colorful and sometimes crazy originals. Although the sound of the group is much different than his previous orchestra, Frank Macchia's humor and musical personality are very much present. Mixing together funk, the sound of rock, New Orleans parade band rhythms, and a few odd time signatures with crazy humor, Macchia has created music that is fun and a bit demented.
Whether it is the 5/4 calypso "Discombobulated," the 7/4 New Orleans piece "Hopstcotch," "Funky Grease Bucket" (which lives up to its name), the 13/4 bluish groove of "Butterfingers," or "Sick Shuffle" (a blues in two keys), the music never loses one's interest. Macchia is heard on a variety of reeds and his two guitarists have opportunities to blast out rockish solos that add to the intensity.
Fun as this recording is, one can only imagine what the hilarity must be when seeing Swamp Thang live. This CD is available from www.frankmacchia.net
All About Jazz.com
Review by Dan McClenaghan
January 12, 2012
You never can tell what some jazz guys have up their sleeves. Los Angeles-based reedman Frank Macchia has worked extensively in television and movies, while maintaining a busy jazz career. His two orchestral jazz outings—Emotions (2006) and Landscapes (2008)—each garnered Grammy nominations, and he has also offered up two very distinctive jazz re-imaginings of traditional fare with Folk Songs for Jazzers (2010) and Son of Folk Songs for Jazzers (2011), all released on his own Cacophony Records.
With Frank Macchia's Swamp Thang, the versatile saxophonist takes a trip into a sonic landscape of bayou boogie, blues, funk, and New Orleans second-line with joyful and freewheeling attitude, letting the good times roll wild and crazy. The leader's wailing sax is usually located dead center of a controlled chaos, with swirling calliope keyboards, snapping, stinging guitars and get-up-and-shake-it grooves.
Opening this set of Macchia originals, Tom Lockett lays down a solid and beefy bass line inside the calamitous ensemble sound of "Discombobulated." "Funky Grease Bucket" conjures images of the late super soul vocalist James Brown breaking into one of his get-out-of-my-way-Michael Jackson dance routines, with Macchia going guttural on baritone saxophone, inside brassy horns and breezy keyboards, over a backdrop of precision-slashing guitars.
The title tune has a thick, murky rhythm and muscular, ominous mood, while "Chuggin'" is Macchia's entry into the "train song" genre, with the band charging down the tracks without a thought about applying the brakes, whistle screaming over the clamor of metallic wheels and machinery.
This mostly wild ride closes out with "Upsy Daisy," the only stream-of-consciousness tune, featuring many meter changes and shifting grooves, and a cool and laidback tenor solo from Macchia, accompanied beautifully by the band in a sort of voice-of-gathering-sanity wind-down to a ferocious party-time set of sounds.
Track Listing: Discombobulated; Funky Grease Bucket; Hopscotch; Shhhh!; Mumbo Gumbo, Dumbo Gumbo; Butterfingers; Swamp Thang; Jungle Dance; Chuffin'; Sick Shuffle; Rhueben's Rhythmic Rhumba; Upsy Daisy.
Personnel: Frank Macchia: saxophones/woodwinds; John Rosenberg: keyboards; Ken Rosser: electric guitar; Eric Jensen: electric guitar; Tom Lockett: electric bass; Frank Briggs: drums, percussion; Alex Iles: trombone; Wayne Bergeron: trumpet.