Steve Kuhn & Gary McFarland: St. Tropez Shuttle
St. Tropez Shuttle
The October Suite (Impulse A-9136)
Isadore Cohen, Matt Raimondi (violins), Al Brown (viola), Charlie McCracken (cello).
Composed, arranged & conducted by Gary McFarland.
Recorded: New York, October 14, 1966
Rating: 100/100 (learn more)
This is one of my "desert island" records—I've loved it for 35 years. It's the second of a triumvirate of Gary McFarland's recorded masterpieces, bookended by The Gary McFarland Orchestra – Special Guest Soloist: Bill Evans and America the Beautiful: An Account of Its Disappearance. The first half of the album comprises three pieces for piano trio and string quartet, and "St. Tropez Shuttle" is my favorite of these (though reluctantly so—it's a hard call). Kuhn and McFarland were good friends, and McFarland wrote with deep understanding of the pianist's gifts—particularly his often austere lyricism. Carter and Morell (the latter subsequently with Bill Evans for six years) complement Kuhn beautifully throughout. What's amazing about the writing on this album (and I've looked carefully at the scores) is how simple the individual parts are, and yet how dense the music sounds collectively.
Reviewer: Bill Kirchner