Marty Sheller: The Route 44 Flyer


The Route 44 Flyer


The Marty Sheller Ensemble


Why Deny (PVR Records 1001)

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Chris Rogers (trumpet), Joe Magnarelli (trumpet), Sam Burtis (trombone), Bobby Porcelli (alto sax), Bob Franceschini (tenor sax), Oscar Hernandez (piano), Ruben Rodriguez (bass), Vince Cherico (drums), Steve Berrios (percussion).

Composed and arranged by Marty Sheller


Recorded: No information provided (CD released in 2008)


Rating: 89/100 (learn more)

Marty Sheller is best known for his work as trumpeter and musical director for Mongo Santamaria. His solo feature on "Watermelon Man" resulted in one of the biggest jazz crossover hits of the era. But even with a gold record to his credit, Sheller is far from a household name. Instead he has developed his reputation among insiders who pay attention to the small print in the CD booklet. Fans and friends prodded Marty, over the years, to front his own band, and he has finally gratified them with this CD of hot charts.

As an Italian-American, I am proud to see a Latin jazz track where the soloists are named Franceschini, Magnarelli and Porcelli. (Remember, Italy was the first Latin country.) But my Hispanic roots also dig the rhythm section of Hernandez-Rodriguez-Cherico-Berrios. Mix-and-match cultures are also part of Sheller's arrangements, and even he splits hairs over the lineage. "I don't consider this to be a Latin jazz record," he comments. ""It's a jazz record with some roots in Latin music." But whatever you call it, "The Route 44 Flyer" is nine minutes of joy. The whole band plays with fire, but Franceschini's tenor solo deserves special mention.

Reviewer: Ted Gioia


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