BRIGHT IDEA Tom Ranier/Glenn Cashman Sextet | Primrose Lane (2007) By John Barron ALLABOUTJAZZ.COM THE TOM RANIER/GLENN CASHMAN SEXTET is an all-star group of some of the most in-demand jazz musicians on the Southern California scene. Ranier, whose sideman credits include Buddy DeFranco and Kenny Burrell, is one of the west coasts top jazz and studio pianists. Cashman is a renowned tenor saxophonist who divides his time between teaching in upstate New York and playing gigs around Los Angeles. "Bright Idea" continues in the same hard-driving, progressive fashion as the group's previous release, "Blue in Green" (Primrose Lane, 2005). The strength of the individual performers on this session would be enough to warrant interest. What makes "Bright Idea" stand out as a winner, however, is the exemplary composing of it's co-leaders. More than just a collection of interesting tunes-which they are-the arrangements expertly manipulate the textural possibilities of the sextet's front line: tenor sax, alto sax and trombone. Cashman's "All That Glitters is Silver", is a tribute to Horace Silver, and his "Three If By Sea" exemplify the disk's strategic balance between ensemble and soloist. Ranier's "Bob Is Your Uncle" is a dark, funky romp with unpredictable chromatic twists reminiscent of the Brecker Brothers. This exceptional sextet is rounded out by veteran sidemen with exemplary credentials. Alto saxophonist Bob Sheppard, perhaps best-known for his work with Chick Corea's Origin ensemble, has a sharp-edged tone that slices with ease through the blistering "Studer Rodeo" and the harmonically challenging "Transparency." Trombonist Bob McChesney, whose recording credits include Horace Silver and Bob Florence, displays a rapid-fire approach on the up-tempo title track and jovial buoyancy on Irving Berlin's "How Deep is the Ocean?" Bassist Luther Hughes and drummer Kendall Kay provide a rock-solid foundation and manage to elevate the intensity of each swinging groove with a crisp, vibrant approach. With committed passion to the past and a forward-thinking connection to the possibilities of straight-ahead jazz, Ranier and Cashman maintain a musical aesthetic that is challenging, yet accessible to a diverse listening audience. 'Bright Idea' is a welcome addition to the recorded legacy of a powerhouse ensemble deserving of wider recognition. PERSONNEL: TOM RANIER: PIANO; GLENN CASHMAN: TENOR SAX; BOB SHEPPARD: ALTO SAX; BOB MCCHESNEY: TROMBONE; LUTHER HUGHES: BASS; KENDALL KAY: DRUMS. Published: July 28, 2007.
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