Monkeys takes off with an infectious Afro-Cuban groove which sets the stage for the ethnic infused sound of the saxophone and Synth Accordion – definitely an acquired taste.
There is a fair amount of humor injected into this offering from Frank Macchia. You can’t listen to Pigs without a smile coming to your face. I even found myself laughing out loud at the sub-base sounds of contrabass clarinet and bass trombone. It truly is the strangest sound, especially when treated as a solo instrument – strange, yet cool all the same.
Frank Macchia possesses the ability to think out of the box. His ability to write and score for this band of misfit instruments allows his creativity and passion for his music to rise above the mundane. As odd sounding as Pigs may be to some ears, Bats is just gorgeous. The woodwind harmonies are very dense but recorded in a balance that once again compliments the intriguing writing here.
The sounds of Frogs, Whales, Elephants, Chickens, Rhinos and Lions all come to life with the rest of these quirky and sophisticated compositions by Frank Macchia. Each tune truly captures the essence of the named animal in the composition. This is a talent Macchia has often channeled for television and film and is quite apparent here as well.
Lastly, Emotions, the third in this trio of albums reviewed here uncovers a much different side of Frank Macchia. His sound on tenor is fat and lush as heard in the opening subtoned statement. The strings intentionally harkens remembrances of the old Stan Getz string recordings penned by Eddie Sauter. It’s truly remarkable to think the same soul has produced music here and on Animals.
This ambitious collection of pieces featuring The Prague Orchestra features the angry, hopeful, sorrowful and joyous sides of Frank Macchia. Some of the tracks are more attractive than others to these ears. I particularly enjoyed the rhythmic playfulness of the Italian inspired Bluesentella. Elsewhere on Emotions it is the hypnotic sound of balladeer Macchia which is carried to greater heights by this fantastic orchestra.
My thanks go out to Frank Macchia for providing these three stunning Cds. His talents as multi-instrumentalist, composer, arranger and score writing come across loud and clear on Animals, Mo’ Animals and Emotions.
You can find out more about Frank Macchia and his Cds at frankmacchia.net