Mystic Lane Productions
You don’t know cool until
you’ve heard Octobop. They are the most refreshing and hippest
West Coast cool jazz band to come around in ages. Very Early
is the fourth release from this Silcone Valley octet. Their arrangements
are bouncy and tight—but not too tight to prevent these guys from swinging.
If you’re looking for
a straight-ahead jazz ensemble, Octobop doesn’t disappoint.
They’ve got the chops. There are echos of Henry Mancini,
Mulligan, Shorty Rogers, and many other jazz cool
cats floating around in their tunes. In fact, their take on the “Pink Panther”
theme (which really has been done to death by just about every other band)
sounds as cool and breezy as when Mancini first composed
leader and sax player Geoff Roach, who did the arrangement
for “The Pink Panther,” knows how to have fun with a song without falling
in the trap of self-parody or over-the-top schmaltz. Roach also bring power
to his arrangement of Mulligan’s “A Ballad” and a bop playfulness
to Roger’s “Powder Puff.” His version of “Do You Know What
It Means to Miss New Orleans” is so beautiful is brings a tear to the eye.
Conway’s arrangement of “Mosiac” and “Both to Be Blue” have a wonderfully
modern sensibility to it. Trumpet and Flugelhorn player Randy’s Smith’s
tune “Saudades” is the coolest bossa-nova inspired piece of jazz to show
up in quite a while.
is not a lounge band per se, but they fit into the lounge vibe perfectly.
The number one problem with bands that try to recapture the lounge/hipster
vibe is they try too hard. They try to be the stylized version of cool
rather the embodiment of cool. The guys in Octobop know what
cool is. It’s just one of those intrinsic things. Either you have it or
you don’t. And Octobop has it.
If you ever get a chance
to see these guys live, jump on it. They did two sets at Mondo
Lounge Atomic Frolic 2007 and created such a perfect mood of
cocktail cool. It was hard not to get lost in the hip vibe they were sending
out throughout the place.
If you’re looking for
more Octobop goodness, check out After Dark
(2004) and Night Lights (2002).
Buy this album from
the Octobop Website