Ted Kooshian: Ted Kooshian's Standard Orbit Quartet (2008)
It is possible that you've seen or heard Kooshian as the pianist in the Ed Palermo Big Band, a group noted for its musical investigation of the work of Frank Zappa set to jazz. Kooshian utilizes the same spirit on this album.
The music gets off to a roaring start with the Hanna/Barbera cartoon theme "Top Cat," with Jeff Lederer's tenor sax belting out the melody and solo. Lederer remains a key element of this group as the primary voice on these melodies and his solos range from mainstream to post-Coltrane wailing on "Buffy, The Vampire Slayer" followed, in the same spirit, by an intense Kooshian solo. Lederer's clarinet work on a complete reworking of Harris/Webster's "Spider-Man"(the television show, not the film) and Kooshian's arrangement recasts this tune at a New Orleans "slow drag" pace, with Lederer's soulful interpolations.
Another aspect of the Kooshian oeuvre is his version of The Police's "Message in a Bottle," where Lederer uses soprano sax to invest Sting's melody with a sensitive yet emotional reading. Led Zeppelin's "Black Dog" is rife with all sorts of possibilities, played in a solid groove. Peter Gabriel's "Don't Give Up" is given the ballad treatment, likened by Kooshian to Wayne Shorter's "Footprints" in the liner notes, taking on a nice nostalgic pace with another fine Lederer soprano solo.
Kooshian maintains a pace throughout the album by delivering driving solos, comping and being the creative force behind this ensemble
Track Listing: Top Cat; Black Dog; Captain Kangaroo; Message In A Bottle; Spider-Man; The Simpsons; Batman; Buffy The Vampire Slayer; Baubles, Bangles and Beads; Don't Give Up; Bullitt.
Personnel: Teo Kooshian: piano; Jeff Lederer: tenor and soprano saxophones, clarinets; Tom Hubbard: bass; Warren Odze: drums, percussion.
Record Label: Summit Records