Music Review: Mac Gollehon - Mac Straight Ahead
Never saw a trumpet like this one. Nothing even close. Al Hirt's trumpet didn't look like it – neither did Louis Armstrong's, Doc Severinsen's, Herb Alpert's, Roy Eldridge's, Cootie Williams's, Clifford Brown's, Lee Morgan's, Miles Davis's and not even Dizzy Gillespie's. I played a trumpet in the high school band and mine certainly didn't look like this. Of course, nothing ever came out of mine like the sounds that come from Mac Gollenhon's instrument either.
So, I looked it up. To no surprise, it's a custom made piece from Harrelson Trumpets. From his testimonial on their site, we learn that Gollehon also plays a Harrelson custom coronet. On his latest CD, Straight Ahead, he plays trombone, too. In fact, with the use of overdubbing, he is the entire brass section and creates the sound of an outrageous big band.
Gollehon's tour de force begins with a rousing cover of Roy Eldridge's “Fish Market” that sets the tone for the album and puts listeners on notice; there's some hot jazz on the way! “Round Midnight” (Monk) and Strayhorn's “Lush Life” lead the way to Gollehon's title track, “Mac Straight Ahead” – an up-tempo number showcasing his ability to hang out in the stratosphere and consistently produce clear precise notes. Maybe it's the customized horn. Gollehon performs all trumpet and trombone solos except for bass trombone. He also arranged all but two of the ten tracks with those credits going to Jack Jeffers.
You've probably heard Gollehon – often. He's played with giants of most music genres including rock and pop to R & B and Latin. Mick Jagger, Madonna, and Chaka Khan are just three of the many stars that have made Mr. G. a “first call” trumpeter. Sam Burtis is here on bass trombone along with Ron Cuber on baritone sax and Greg Kogan on organ. Drum duties are shared by Victor Lewis, Warren Smith, and Jun Saito. Engineers Ben Elliott and Jeff Phillips get special kudos for spot-on work with the overdubbing to produce a one man big band.Continued on the next page