Ted Kooshian: Top Cat
Ted Kooshian's Standard Orbit Quartet
Ted Kooshian's Standard Orbit Quartet (Summit Records DCD 495)
Ted Kooshian (piano),
Jeff Lederer (tenor sax), Tom Hubbard (bass), Warren Odze (drums).
Composed by Hoyt Curtin, Jospeh Barber, William Hanna and E. Timmens.
Recorded: Brooklyn, NY, January 29-30, 2007
Rating: 88/100 (learn more)
Despite his name, Top Cat didn't enjoy much time at the top. His Hanna-Barbera cartoon show was canceled after only 30 episodes. But he paved the way for the Pink Panther's later rise to feline stardom, and left behind a great theme song. It is adopted here by Ted Kooshian's quartet as a spirited blowing number, and makes you wonder why the other cats haven't been calling this song at jam sessions. I don't remember all the modulations in the original cartoon score (by the unheralded Hoyt Curtin of Flintstones and Johnny Quest fame), but they work well in this arrangement. Everybody solos on this track, and the performance captures the loose and easy ambiance of the Top Cat himself. Kooshian takes a lot of chances on this CD and selects some peculiar tunes, but this one is the pick of the litter.
Reviewer: Ted Gioia