Bumpin' the Mango
Ahh...a moment for which I'd been waiting quite some time--an opportunity to sub with Bumpin' the Mango, a horn band based in Atlanta. Their covers of Tower of Power, in particular, sound so good that when I was asked to come play bari sax with them Monday night, it was easy to say yes.
There's more to it than Tower of Power, but that's kind of what I fixated on. I saw ToP in the early 90s (my sax teacher took me) and then I saw them at the start of this year at The Canyon Club in California. Both times--totally awesome. The sound of those horns is in my DNA. I think I did a good job of approximating Doc Kupka on this evening (except for the hat)!
This gig had many subs--more than regular band members!--but everybody came prepared. Subbing along with me were Dan Baraszu (guitar), Jason Chapman (bass), Justin Powell (trumpet), Travis Cottle (trombone), and Umcolisi Terrell (tenor sax).
I shouldn't have been surprised at how well Dan played, though I'd never thought of him as being a funk or rock guy. His rhythm has always been impeccable and his angular solos fit right in while still sounding just like Dan. It got me thinking that I first time I ever met Dan was in the very same room (Cafe 290) in probably 1997. He's just as impressive today as he was then.
Umcolisi stood next to me in the section. His solos blew me away--I was stunned at his sound, his phrasing, his ideas, his technique. Incredible! I'd never heard him play before. Wow! Without a doubt, one of the best tenor players in Atlanta. Thank god I didn't have any bari solos. I would've looked really bad playing anything after him. What a fantastic talent.
The other guy I really dug on this gig was Tony Giordano, who played organ and sang. Terrific soul and excitement. He was there for every note all night.
Thanks to Paul Garrett for having me out. Beautiful charts in the book. I'd love to do it again!