Digest Your 'Instant Oats' (LGY Records) by Oatmeal Jazz Combo. It's Good for You! [REVIEW]

By Mike Greenblatt on May 07, 2016 02:05 PM EDT
Oatmeal Jazz Combo Oatmeal Jazz Combo started in 2009 at Stony Brook University. (Photo : courtesy LGY Records)

Digest your Oatmeal Jazz Combo, children, it's good for you, especially Instant Oats (LGY Records).

This adventurous quintet started out just for fun in 2009 at Stony Brook University in New York and is now on its fifth CD. Dig how they will play anything and everything including the closing "Transformers" theme.

The quintet (pictured) has been upped to an octet for Instant Oats. Opener "Look To The Sky" makes modern jazz out of the Brazilian samba of legendary composer Antonio Carlos Jobim [1927-1994]. It's a heady way to start this trip of surprising stops. Trumpeter Jonathan Saraga's "Searching For The Truth" makes for an exceedingly nifty groove before bassist Tristan Eggener's "Show Cat Valley" adds the pump and sway (he also wrote the way-cool "Fly Cat," my radio pick if it could be edited down from its 5:47 jam length).

Andrew McGowan is a rollicking 30-fingered piano player (at least it seems that way). His "Spikey" moves and shakes like jello on a plate (he also wrote "Puffy," another wiggly trip up and down his 88s). Plus, his interactions with Steven Carrington's reeds and James Hubbard's trombone throughout are fun and daring. You want mellifluousness? Dig their cover of Roberta Flack's "Feel Like Making Love" (not to be confused with the Bad Company song of the same name) and "Duet," a beautiful trumpet/piano 3:38. Carrington chips in with his own "Just Be'cuz" in this most democratic of boy's clubs.

Why oatmeal? Apparently, their school rehearsal space had soundproof foam rotting off the walls that looked, indeed, like nasty oatmeal.

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TagsOatmeal Jazz Combo, REVIEW, LGY Records, Stony Brook University

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