September 29, 2014
Jazz & Blues Review – by Ron Weinstock
Chris ‘Doc’ Stewart is a world-class alto saxophonist who developed his talent before entering into his day job as an ER physician at the famed Mayo Clinic. This is the second CD of his big band, Resuscitation, comprised of musicians that he associated with in his pre-medicine days that include a number top studio and jazz musicians in the LA scene. Some of the more prominent names here include pianist Matt Catingub, bassist Kevin Axt, drummer Steve Moretti, trombonists Bill Reichenbach Andy Martin and Scott Kyle, Trumpeters Wayne Bergeron, Jeff Bunnell and Ron Stout, and saxophonist Bill Liston. Arrangements are by pianist Catingub and Tom Kubis, who co-wrote the centerpiece of this album, “Code Blue Suite,” with Doc Stewart.
Stewart advises that the four-part “Code Blue Suite” “tells the story of life and death I see everyday in the ER.” The bluesy roots of Stewart’s music here is evident on the opening “Code Pink – Born to See Blues’ that celebrates birth and the uncertainty life brings, followed by “Ironman Blues – Dig Me Man!.” This part has a definite fifties-sixties Basie feel about it with strong playing from Reichenbach and Bergeron in addition to the leader’s own playing. “The Last Breath Blues – All
Alone Now” opens with some unaccompanied playing from Stewart before to starting a bluesy riff with the rhythm and its leader getting very heated before a segment incorporating some emergency room effects a spoken part before a sharp ending. The concluding part of the suite, “Code Jesus – New Life,” is quite lively and celebratory with nice playing from Stewart and Stout, but kudos also to Axt for his electric bass playing.
The remainder of the album includes performances associated with Cannonball Adderley, including the driving “The Sticks”; a spirited Bobby Timmons’ “Dis Here”; Adderley’s ”Introduction to a Samba” and Oscar Pettiford’s “Bohemia After Dark.” Stewart’s previous big band album was a tribute to Adderley and his music publishing company is Cannonball Jazz. The big
band arrangements are nicely done and with the solid soloing providing nice framing for what were originally small group performances. The leader certainly plays with a fluid, robust bluesy attack. Kubis contributed a lovely ballad, “Tribute to Bud Shank,” while Catingub contributes a bright, brassy arrangement for “Poor Butterfly”‘ as well as the lightly swinging treatment for “The Way You Look Tonight,” with Andy Martin’s trombone solo of note.
“Code Blue!” is a is recording that should have wide appeal with first rate soloing and swinging ensemble playing by this excellent big band.
September 19, 2014
If the concept behind Code Blue!, the Doc Stewart album released in June, is what he calls the “resuscitation ” of the big band sound, or perhaps even more miraculously the resurrection of that sound, not only does it work as a metaphor, but if enough jazz fans give it a listen, it is in fact likely to rise to miracle. And that is only fitting since not only is Stewart a fine alto sax player working with a talented group of musicians, but he is also an ER physician at the prestigious Mayo Clinic. Who better to resuscitate (resurrect) a patient hovering between life and death?
Hyperbole aside, Code Blue! is an album with a truly authentic big band sound. Much of it relies on some excellent arrangements from Tom Kubis or the band’s pianist Matt Catingub. Whether taking a classic tune like “The Way You Look Tonight” or an original piece like Stewart’s “Patty’s Bossa,” they manage to find the right combination of traditional big band riffs and creative variations to achieve a sound that echoes, but doesn’t merely copy the past-big band with a contemporary vibe.
The album opens with “The Code Blue Suite,” a four-part Kubis and Stewart composition that musically channels the life and death experience of the ER. The parts move from the innocence of birth, “Code Pink,” through “Ironman Blues,” which alludes to the man who feels he has the strength to deal with everything on his own, and “The Last Breath Blues,” a portrayal of the human need to find something larger than the self. It ends with “Code Jesus,” a gospel-like assertion of faith. Stewart, a Cannonball Adderley aficionado ends appropriately with a quotation from “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy.”
There is a sweet version of “Poor Butterfly” with featured work by Stewart and Bill Liston. The set also includes tunes by Adderley (“The Sticks” and “Introduction to a Samba”), Oscar Pettiford (“Bohemia After Dark”) and Charles Lloyd (“Song My Lady Sings”). With 14 songs in total, the album offers almost an hour and 20 minutes of exciting big band jazz, plenty to keep discerning listeners smiling.
September 11, 2014
September 3, 2014
August 7, 2014
George W. Harris for Jazz Weekly As a doctor who practices between patients myself, I’ve got to admit I’m quite impressed by the alto sax work of Doc Stewart, who practices up in Minnesota, and must’ve come out to LA for some sunshine awhile back, as the best Angelenos are on this hot little session.
Stewart’s got a warm and clean tone, and he’s got some chops! He shows no sense of intimidation on the lightning fast take of “Bohemia After Dark,” and shows he’s got the funk factor on the four part “Code Blue Suite.” His tone glistens on the ballad “Homage to Bud Shank” and can boogie with the best on Bobby Timmons’ soulful “Dis Here.” Trumpeter Ron Stout sizzles on “Introduction to a Samba” and “Snakin’ the Grass’ while the flutes frame Stewart on Charles Lloyd’s “son My Lady Sings” to perfection. With the way health insurance is going these days, this guy’s got a great way to supplement his income! Gotta see this guy in concert-it’s definitely be cheaper than an office visit!
August 1, 2014
September issue of Jersey Jazz by Joe Lang The DOC STEWART BIG BAND RESUSCITATION has an interesting leader. Stewart is a doctor at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona, but performed as a professional musician prior to his current profession. He has continued to play jazz all through his life, and for Code Blue (Cannonball Jazz–2014) he has recruited a first call crew of players from the Los Angeles area to play a program of terrific arrangements by Tom Kubis and Matt Catingub. The centerpiece of the album is the four-part “Code Blue Suite,” composed by Stewart and Kubis. It is based on Stewart’s experiences as a doctor in the ER. This is a program that demonstrates the best of modern big band writing and playing, creative and satisfying.
July 30, 2014
Chris ” Doc ” Stewart is a prominent emergency room doctor with the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona. He plays alto saxophone and he is a dedicated follower of Julian ” Cannonball ” Adderley. Code Blue !, is what is called out in the emergency room when a patient has a cardiac or respiratory arrest, so its a fitting title for a recording made by a doctor who spends his working life saving lives.
This recording commences with a four part composition by Tom Kubis and Doc Stewart entitled The Code Blue Suite and covers birth to death and then on to rebirth.
The Code Blue Suite was written by Doc Stewart with Tom Kubis. Click here for a video of a live performance of Code Pink – Born To See Blues by the Tom Kubis Big Band. Doc Stewart is on alto.
The remaining 10 tracks are a mixture of old and new compositions, two by ‘Cannonball’ Adderley, some by Tom Kubis and Doc Stewart, and the remainder are standards.
Click here to listen to Hal Galper’s Snakin’ The Grass from the album. The arrangement is by Tom Kubis and Ron Stout is on trumpet, Kevin Axt, bass.
There are 19 musicians on this recording, 6 reeds, 10 brass, and piano, bass and drums, all from the Los Angeles area. They all play well, but, to my mind, the arrangements could have had more ” bounce “. If you enjoy big band music this recording may very well be for you. I particularly liked their version of Bobby Timmons’s Dis Here and Oscar Pettiford’s Bohemia After Dark, and the Code Blue Suite certainly has its moments. Vic Arnold for Sandy Brown Jazz
July 30, 2014
Doc Stewart: Code Blue! Chris “Doc” Stewart is an ER Doctor for the Mayo Clinic Hospital besides being a superlative alto saxman, as you’ll hear throughout, and he’s a Julian ‘Cannonball’ Adderley historian. The arrangements are by Tom Kubis or Matt Catingub and mention must be made about the incredible lead trumpet playing of Wayne Bergeron. “Homage To Bud Shank” has the sax section sounding like Supersax on what might be a Shank solo, written out and harmonised. The amazing sax section is also featured on “Poor Butterfly” and “The Way You Look Tonight”. Lots of soloists over the 14 tracks of good music. The Jazzaholic – Don Albert
July 28, 2014
Rotcod Zzaj – Improvijazzation Nation – If ever you need a total “jazz fix”, Doc & his crew are the right place to get it, I’ll tell you! It’s a followup to his 2005 CD that paid tribute to Cannonball Adderley – & this outing ROCKS, folks! Pieces like “Ironman Blues” will surely set your socks afire & require a visit to get you back in order again! I truly loved the funky environment of “Snakin’ The Grass” – but not to worry, Doc’s got the cure, so wander right along with the slithery beats (some GREAT keyboards on this tune!!!). Of the 11 tunes offered up, my personal favorite was the back-alley flavor on “Bohemia After Dark“… Doc’s woodwinds administer just the right amount of musical meds to make this one of your favorite CD’s of 2014 (& for a long time to come). I give Doc & crew a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, as well as a perfect 5.00 for “EQ” (energy quotient). That means it gets the “PICK” of this issue for “best high-energy jazz band).