Gypsy Schaeffer: Grape Soda and Pretzels


Grape Soda and Pretzels


Gypsy Schaeffer


New Album (Peace Time Records - PTR 1003)

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Andy Voelker (saxophones), Joel Yennior (trombone), Jef Charland (bass), Chris Punis (drums).

Composed by Jef Charland


Recorded: PBS Studios, Westwood, Massachusetts, October 18 and 26, 2008


Rating: 87/100 (learn more)

This must be Braxton week at my house. It seems like every other disc I pick up has some sort of Braxton influence. It's either that or a listen to the Willisau quartets recording is long overdue.

Gypsy Shaeffer launches “Grape Soda and Pretzels” with a stiff but humorous march that's supported by a kind of one-note samba, if you forget about the samba part. The sax rides on top of this, playing a head that can be best described as 'cheerful.' This is no novelty act though, as the curtain is pulled back to reveal a rhythm section that swings relentlessly. Once the groove has solidified, there's no turning back. Everybody gets in on the solo act. The horns take their turns as does bassist Jef Charland. And don't give me any of that “Oh no, the bass solo” junk – this guy means business. Heck he swings hard enough to maintain that groove through Chris Punis' drum solo.

After all of this serious jazzification, the horns return for one last go-round with the main theme, during which a smile will creep across your face.

Reviewer: Mark Saleski

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