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Ted Kooshian's Standard Orbit Quartet

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Album Review

Pianist Ted Kooshian is well known to fans of the Ed Palermo Big Band, though this is only his second outing as a leader. Like Palermo, he's not one to be satisfied with playing the same mix of standards and familiar jazz compositions. Instead, he mostly opts for a mix of television theme songs and rock, with plenty of surprises in store, while keeping the listener hooked with imaginative arrangements. Most of the folks who remember "Top Cat" are likely to have been born before 1961, but Kooshian delivers a spirited interpretation, with Jeff Lederer swinging along with him on tenor sax. "Captain Kangaroo" is the theme from the long-running children's show, though the pianist transforms it into a driving 7/8 groove that wails. "Spider Man" is a hoot, played in a classic, bluesy New Orleans setting, with a bit of stride piano and Lederer's mournful clarinet. He revamps "Buffy, the Vampire Slayer" into furious post-bop, while slowly building the tension in a funky treatment of "Bullitt." The rock songs work just as well. Led Zeppelin's "Black Dog" settles into a soulful groove comparable to the work of Eddie Harris and Les McCann. Peter Gabriel's "Don't Give Up" is a curious alchemy of musical elements, including gospel and pop with the occasional air of ancient English folk, with delicious solos by Kooshian and Lederer (the latter on soprano sax). Finally, there is one standard, a breezy setting of the show tune "Baubles, Bangles and Beads." Ted Kooshian's Standard Orbit Quartet is out of this world!


Born: 08 October 1961 in San Jose, CA

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

Pianist Ted Kooshian is a versatile journeyman who has worked with a vast array of artists from across many genres. On his own, Kooshian leans toward straight-ahead jazz . A native of San Jose, CA, he began playing piano in grade school and by junior high he was studying jazz. He studied music at San Jose State College beginning in 1979, and eventually found work as a pianist on cruise ships before moving to New York City in 1987. From that point on, Kooshian was an in-demand freelance musician for...
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Ted Kooshian's Standard Orbit Quartet, Ted Kooshian
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