In these days of confused and restless musical remorse, it is good to find something that is actually supposed to bring a rye smile and a knowing wink to one’s hectic and relentless lifestyle! I must begin by saying I laughed hysterically while simultaneously rocking out to the arrangements of a collection of hits by the likes of Cher, Captain & Tennille, and Bobby Vincent delivered impeccably and with great flair by the incredible session band led by keyboardist/arranger Randy Hoexter! Under the hilariously apt title FROMAGE, Randy brings to life such tunes as “Yummy Yummy Yummy”, “Gypsies, Tramps & Thieves”, “Muskrat Love”, “Delta Dawn”, and “Escape – The Pina Colada Song” with a band that includes the incomparable bassist Jimmy Haslip and drummer Dave Weckl (tunes 4, 5, 8)! Yes!
Each arrangement is tight, tight, tight, with all the great playing one could imagine over this collection of purposely disposable tunes, and with tongue planted firmly-in-cheek through the 11-song feature. In Mr. Hoexter’s able hands, these pop themes become something worth treasuring… at least, a little!
Humorously, it was my non-musical wife who presented me with a point of view from the standpoint of the “innocent listener”. In short, these tunes arrangements are so cool that it allows this roster of tunes safe enough to reminisce days of 1970’s childhood – before cable television, the internet, FM Radio, and all those things much worse than the aforementioned.
The Randy Hoexter production throughout Fromage brings to mind that feeling of hearing one’s favorite television theme song, while also bringing to fore the acute abilities of this band! These are fantastic players that display that certain feel and sound of a the sharpest of LA studio bands! Such fun reminds me of the great players in and around the great city of Atlanta, GA – Randy’s home and base of operations. Drummer Tom Knight plays on all but the 3 Weckl tunes. He’s absolutely killing! The other players are: trumpeters Gordon Vernick and Mike Barry; trombonist Eric Alexander, percussionist Kit Chatmham, woodwinds master Sam Skelton, vocalist Angie Driscoll and guitarist Trey Wright – each of whom truly bring all of the musical savvy necessary to pull-off these sometimes tricky arrangements! What a beautiful work environment! This is the epitome of clean, wholesome, listening fun! This one truly made my day!
Must Hear Tunes: I’m going to have to say “All”! You’ve gotta hear this one!