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Highway Fun

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Michael G. Nastos
Facing shifting personnel over ten years of gigging based in the Ann Arbor/Detroit metro area, this group finally gets their debut recording of backlogged original music out. It's an interesting jazz/funk
ock/latin mix, driven by the drumming of leader Jon Krosnick, percussionist Dave Mason and principal writer/saxophonist Steve Hiltner. Trumpeter and flugelhornist Brandon Cooper establishes some high points with his bold, impassioned Freddie Hubbard-like solos, Toledo keyboardist Mark Kieswetter sets a contemporary tone on electrified pianos; electric bass guitarist David Stearns and conga player Aron Kaufman supplement Krosnick's ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Michael G. Nastos
Facing shifting personnel over ten years of gigging based in the Ann Arbor/Detroit metro area, this group finally gets their debut recording of backlogged original music out. It's an interesting jazz/funk
ock/latin mix, driven by the drumming of leader Jon Krosnick, percussionist Dave Mason and principal writer/saxophonist Steve Hiltner. Trumpeter and flugelhornist Brandon Cooper establishes some high points with his bold, impassioned Freddie Hubbard-like solos, Toledo keyboardist Mark Kieswetter sets a contemporary tone on electrified pianos; electric bass guitarist David Stearns and conga player Aron Kaufman supplement Krosnick's steady beat; and guitarist Sam Clark adds a touch of serenity or psychedelia when called on. The group starts on the title track penned by Kaufman and former bassist Dan Ladin, with polyphony reminiscent of a traffic jam. Honking horns, screeching tires and zooming dragsters introduce a rocking R&B-ish horn chart, with a cool guitar solo from Clark. "Into the Wave," written by Mason, resembles the dramatic entrance of Zorro prior to a samba-swaddled swordfight scene, and Clark's "Moose & Squirrel" is a highlight, a fast, funky cartoon chase with the horns as Rocky and Clark's guitar as the doubting Bullwinkle. Stearns wrote the poignant "Cycle," which shifts from a 5/4 ostinato with bass and electric keys to lilting 5/4 and 6/8 phrases buoyed by a potent flugelhorn solo from Cooper. The rest are Hiltner's babies. His "Bird of Paradox" pits different melodic sections tacked onto a clave bridge for trumpet and percussion solos, complex and skilled writing for sure. "Toot Suite" has Hiltner and Cooper in clarion mode informing a three-note jazz melody as a springboard for Cooper's growling solo, followed by a strong alto solo. Hiltner's depth and vision as a writer are further demonstrated on tunes like the funk-lite/swing "Flugel Tune," the swinging, strongly melodic '50s post-boppish "Cruisin'," the punchy, popping horns of the quick, bright samba "Yes, Yes, Yes," and the spacy, miminalist "All in a Day's Dream." "Dream" features Kieswetter's haunting, electrified, angelic-sounding repeated chords as a foundation for Hiltner's cloud-hopping alto and Cooper's immediately following brass, leading to a brief 6/8, more Latin section and a fine extended solo from Stearns. The Lunar Octet covers a lot of ground, not comprehensive in the jazz idiom, but they've got the modern music traditions of the past 40 years blanketed in a very enjoyable, universally acceptable fashion. Hopefully this is the tip of the iceberg, with more joyous music to follow.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 9/13/1994
  • Label: Schoolkids Records
  • UPC: 748775152226
  • Catalog Number: 1522

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Highway Fun (6:06)
  2. 2 Cycle (6:20)
  3. 3 Toote Sweet (5:29)
  4. 4 All in a Day's Dream (6:54)
  5. 5 Yes! Yes! Yes! (3:44)
  6. 6 Into the Wave (3:07)
  7. 7 Flügel Tune (5:01)
  8. 8 Cruisin' (7:15)
  9. 9 Bird of Paradox (7:08)
  10. 10 Moose and Squirrel (3:51)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Lunar Octet Primary Artist
Dave Mason Percussion, Timbales
Sam Clark Guitar
Brandon Cooper Trumpet, Flugelhorn, Horn
Aron Daufman Percussion, Conga
Stephen Hiltner Alto Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone
Mark Kieswetter Keyboards
Jon Krosnick Drums
David Stearns Bass, Electric Bass, Acoustic Bass
Alberto Nacif Bongos
Technical Credits
Rob Martens Engineer
Geoff Michael Engineer
Will Spencer Engineer
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