Music



Gary Smulyan
Our Contrafacts


A contrafact is a method of composing a new melody and arrangement on a pre-existing musical composition using its chord progression. In jazz, one of the most famous examples is “Hot House” (Tadd Dameron) based on “What Is This Thing Called Love?” (Cole Porter). Baritone saxophonist Gary Smulyan has been intrigued by this particular way of composition for a number of years. His first album on SteepleChase last year SCCD 31844 “Alternative Contrafacts” is a superlative example of his interest. Here on this new release “Our Contrafacts” is a collection of new contrafacts by contributed by each member of the trio.

“A contrafact, a longtime jazz convention, is an original melody superimposed over the chord progression of a preëxisting song. If, in the course of listening to “It Happens,” from the baritone saxophonist Gary Smulyan’s intriguing album “Our Contrafacts,” you find yourself humming Michel Legrand’s “Watch What Happens,” well, you’ve got the idea. Smulyan, a mainstream master of the big horn, has devoted previous albums to contrafacts composed by others; here, he and his sterling associates, David Wong on bass and Rodney Green on drums, contribute their own clever adaptations, which provide fertile terrain for improvisation—invention upon reinvention, as it were.”
— Steve Futterman, The New Yorker

“While there are occasional short solos by Wong and Green, the focus throughout is on Smulyan, who has yet to record an unworthy record or play an uninspired chorus. His passionate sound and fresh ideas make Alternative Contrafacts a set well worth picking up, particularly by straight ahead jazz collectors.”
— Scott Yanow – NYC Jazz Records (on SCCD 31844)

Personnel

GARY SMULYAN – baritone saxophone
DAVID WONG – bass
RODNEY GREEN – drums

Recorded April 2019

Tracklist

  1. QUARTER BLUES (Rodney Green) 8:39
  2. DRINK UP (Gary Smulyan) 6:10
  3. HOMEBODY (Gary Smulyan) 7:41
  4. IT HAPPENS (Rodney Green) 5:43
  5. MILES TONES (Gary Smulyan) 7:30
  6. GOOD RIDDANCE (Gary Smulyan) 8:11
  7. HOW DEEP (David Wong) 4:55
  8. TRITONIOUS MONK (Gary Smulyan) 6:47
  9. WHAT’S HER NAME (David Wong) 4:20
  10. SOURPUSS (Gary Smulyan) 6:24