Album Review of
Out on the Coast

Written by Joe Ross
February 16, 2021 - 2:59pm EST
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The Los Angeles-based David Angel Jazz Ensemble’s Out on the Coast is a triple-CD set of music composed or arranged by David Angel, a highly respected musician who’s spent years writing and arranging for the television and film industry. Also an educator, he’s taught at conservatories in France and Switzerland.  David Angel’s 13-piece band includes six saxophonists, some that also play clarinet, flute or piccolo. The band also has a couple trumpets (or flugel horns), French horn, trombone, and tuba (or bass trombone). The rhythm section has guitar, upright bass and drums.   

Out on the Coast features 15 Angel originals and his arrangements of seven standards by Arthur Schwartz, Duke Ellington, Johnny Mandel, Jimmy Davis, Billy Strayhorn, Vernon Duke, and Harold Arlen. Nothing seems too rushed, and the ensemble’s instrumentation definitely colors much of the music, like the 15-minute piece “Moonlight,” with mellow tones and sensitive, subtle textures.

Opening with “Out on the Coast 2,” the mood is set with a sax trio from Angel’s Saxtet (his band with six saxophones). Guitarist John Chiodini provides unique voicings and an enchanting solo, and he also shines on “Between,” “Leaves” and “Moonlight.” What I enjoyed most about the music on these three discs is that it’s comfortably relaxed, impressively executed, and joyfully played. Surprisingly, all the music was recorded on four days in January 2020. Depending on the selection, Angel’s thoughtful orchestrations allow many band members to have a chance in the solo spotlight. They also convey many moods from sublime to upbeat. Tom Peterson’s tenor sax is a highlight of “Loverman,” as is Gene Cipriano’s alto sax on Duke Ellington’s “Prelude to a Kiss.” Other noteworthy colorings include Ron Stout’s flugel horn or trumpet (“Wig,” “Autumn in New York,” “Deep 2”), Jim Quam’s tenor and Jonathan Dane’s trumpet (“Out on the Coast 3”), Phil Feather’s alto (“Love Letter to Pythagoras” and “Wild Strawberries”), and Scott Whitfield’s trombone (“This Time the Dream’s on Me” and “Leaves”).

Another highlight is to hear some distinctive instrumental voices in often unexpected ways, such as album producer Jim Self’s tuba (”Latka Variations,” “Hershey Bar”), Stefanie O’Keefe’s horn (“A Flower is a Lovesome Thing”), Susan Quam’s bass (“Dark Passage”), Bob Carr’s baritone (“Dark Passage” and “L’ilo Vasche”) and Paul Kreibich’s drums (“Waiting for a Train Part 2” and “L.A. Mysterioso”). Spanning nearly 12-minutes, “Ah Rite!” has an intricate, swinging musical conversation between the various saxophones, trumpet and trombone.             

David Angel’s inventive, thoughtful arrangements make for a real pleasant, leisurely listen. They’re imaginative, colorful and tastefully rendered in memorable passages by the ensemble’s stellar members. (Joe Ross, Roots Music Report)