Love for a thing can make a tremendous difference in
a musician’s approach to how music is played. When the scenic beauty of
one’s home land is the inspiration, the passion that follows likely will
be of the highest order. So it is with Kevin Stout and Brian Booth’s
Color Country (Jazzed5 Records, 2015).
The two hail from Utah. One section in the southern part of the state
has five national parks. Each of the 13 tracks represents part of that
Booth plays saxophones and flutes. Stout plays trombone, guitar and
percussion. Accompanying them are Joey Singer, piano; Tom Warrington,
bass; John Abraham, drums; and JoBelle Yonely, vocals.
“Aquarius Plateau” has a flare of bossa nova, influenced largely by the
percussion. Trombone and saxophone blend on the lead, with a bit of a
throaty growl from the former. One can easily imagine samba dancing to
this song. The music shifts to something indicating solitude during
Singer’s tranquil solo. Even then, the sense of celebration continues.
The song is named for part of the Grand Staircase National Monument, an
elevated land form that includes Bryce Canyon National Park.
The title song features the wordless vocal chant of Yonely. It has a
strong, Brazilian vibe. The term “color country” refers to the different
colors that can be added to the group. As Stout explains, it’s basically
a quintet but some over-dubbing was done to create vocal harmony and
allow Stout to get some of his percussion in there. He also gets some
guitar and trombone action in as well.
“Hoodoo Voodoo” might sound like something out of New Orleans. But it’s
more of a Latin piece, similar to Mongo Santamaria’s “Afro Blue.” It has
a dark, brooding mood in the opening. Once things warm up, and
transforms into a soundtrack that might accompany a walking excursion in
the area these songs are named for, especially if it were in an
adventure movie. It then evolves into a swinging jazz piece, with the
tenor sax leading the way. Stout explains hoodoo is a term referred to
towers of sandstone that forms sort of a natural amphitheater in Bryce
Color Country is the fourth recording of Stout and Booth.