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Christopher Burnett Quintet 

The Standards, Vol. 1 (ARC2925) 

RELEASE: JANUARY 2021  

No matter how modern or abstract or unclassifiable jazz can get in the 21st century, standard tunes remain a touchstone for a great many players, across widely varying jazz idioms and sub-genres. When someone improvises on a standard, we hear how they sound, but we also hear how they hear. Where do they place the beat? Where does their harmonic imagination lead? What melodic secrets do they reveal? What inner aspect of their soul do they choose to lay bare? From Buddy Bolden onward, jazz improvisers have taken the tools and vernacular of their day, of their musical community, and sought their own truth within that common framework.  
Such was the goal of alto saxophonist Christopher Burnett on The Standards, Vol. 1. Yet the decision to record a full album of standards was made after much reflection. Every player faces the challenge of making a standard his or her own, rather than relying on past interpretations, and this was a concern. There’s also the risk of standards, in Burnett’s words, becoming caricatures: “In this era of information overload,” he says, “[playing standards] can become ego vehicles to play loads of memorized melodic permutations and other intellectually derived constructs over the changes.”  
With The Standards, Vol. 1, Burnett sought to capture a straightforward and honest encounter with the songbook tradition and the modern jazz canon. In this, he had solid support from a working band with pianist Roger Wilder, bassist Bill McKemy and drummer Clarence Smith, expanded to include guitarist Charles Gatschet on four tracks, as well as Stanton Kessler on flugelhorn for Herbie Hancock’s enduring “Dolphin Dance.” (Wilder and Smith were both featured on Burnett’s 2014 ARC release Firebird.) Kessler, on two additional tracks, appears in a larger ensemble with two flutes (Terri Anderson Burnett, Freda Proctor), clarinet (Samantha Batchelor) and baritone saxophone (Aryana Nemati), Gatschet on guitar as well, as Burnett wields the arranger’s pen and summons some truly colorful reed-plus-rhythm section sonorities. Top engineer Bill Crain captures it all beautifully in Studio A of his BRC Audio Productions.  

Read the complete album liner notes by jazz journalist, David R. Adler.


The Standards, Vol. 1 (ARC-2925)  

  • 1. Dolphin Dance (Hancock, arr. CbQ) 
  • 2. Corcovado (Jobim, arr. Burnett) 
  • 3. Boplicity (Henry, arr. CbQ) 
  • 4. Windows (Corea, arr. Burnett) 
  • 5. All The Things You Are (Kern, arr. CbQ) 
  • 6. Freedom Flight (Burnett, arr. CbQ) 

Artist Personnel 

  • Christopher Burnett - alto saxophone, composition, arranger, bandleader 
  • Roger Wilder - piano 
  • Bill McKemy - acoustic bass 
  • Clarence Smith - drums 
  • Charles Gatschet - guitar (2, 4-6) 
  • Freda Proctor - flute (2+4) 
  • Terri Anderson Burnett - flute (2+4) 
  • Samantha Batchelor - clarinet (2+4) 
  • Aryana Nemati - baritone saxophone (2+4) 
  • Stanton Kessler - flugelhorn (1, 2+4)  

Production 

Label 

Producers 

Genre:  jazz standards  

Album release date: 20 January 2021  

Recorded, mixed and mastered at BRC Audio Productions, Kansas City, KS USA

Professional Affiliations and Endorsements

"I've played Selmer Paris saxophones throughout my entire career with military jazz bands and during my career beyond the service ensembles. It's an honor to be sponsored by Conn-Selmer, Inc. as a saxophone artist and clinician. I gladly play and officially endorse Selmer (Paris) Saxophones exclusively!" Christopher Burnett | Conn-Selmer, Inc. Artist + Clinician 

SYOS – SHAPE YOUR OWN SOUND ARTIST // I’m happy to be an endorsing artist for SYOS. I recently received a unique new concept in making jazz alto saxophone mouthpieces from their shop in Paris, France. I gave them specifications for this mouthpiece based upon what I have come to prefer over the years to create the “Christopher Burnett” SYOS model. Using the exacting precision of computer programming in manufacturing my exact parameters, SYOS physically constructed my mouthpiece to these precise tolerances using 3-D printer technology. They have just about any color choice for both the mouthpiece and ligature, I both, a “blue” and “black” version of my custom “Christopher Burnett” SYOS model. You can order my exact mouthpiece from them or simply build your own. That’s cool …| SYOS Mouthpiece Artist 

Mr. Burnett is a professional jazz artist, noted composer, and an award-winning staff writer and reporter who has written columns and feature articles for All About Jazz, newspapers, journals, and military publications over a period of several decades. He is one of our Jazz Artistry Now founding editors and a professional voting member of the esteemed Jazz Journalists Association. | Jazz Journalists Association 

As an active BMI Writer Affiliate, his ensemble performances and studio recordings primarily feature his original compositions and his interpretive arrangements of select works by other composers. As a composer, Mr. Burnett is the 1995 5-Star Award of Merit Winner of the National Federation of Music Clubs (the first prize) for his original composition and arrangement for big band titled, Daedalus. Daedalus was initially recorded by the award-winning Engineer Center Jazz Ensemble and published on the highly acclaimed compact disc recording by the 399th US Army Band, titled “Essayons” – which was also the first-ever CD recording released in that particular military band’s history. Subsequently, Mr. Burnett has had music licensed by the Weather Channel and he has written production music for major networks. | Broadcast Music, Inc.

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