Pete McCann – composer, electric and acoustic guitars
John O’Gallagher – alto saxophone
Henry Hey – piano, Rhodes, organ
Matt Clohesy – double and electric bass
Mark Ferber – drums
Engineered, mixed and mastered by Michael Marciano at Systems Two Studios, May 2014
Producer - Pete McCann
Executive Producer - Michael Janisch
released September 18, 2015
ABOUT THE ALBUM
Enjoying some 25 years as a highly respected sideman on the New York circuit, and a regular performer at Greenwich Village’s popular 55 Bar, multi-faceted jazz guitarist Pete McCann brings his fifth solo album to Whirlwind Recordings – a quintet recording of all-new material which distills his vast experience of working alongside some of jazz’s greatest artists, including Kenny Wheeler, Lee Konitz, David Liebman and Pete Erskine.
With an eclectic approach to his music-making (previous projects have encompassed straight-ahead jazz, Latin, fusion and contemporary classical), McCann now presents jazz/rock cornucopia Range, its title a metaphor for the breadth of his colorful musical career as well as the diversity of the sounds expressed so eloquently here with longstanding personnel of choice – John O’Gallagher (sax), Henry Hey (keys), Matt Clohesy (basses) and Mark Ferber (drums).
The ebullient grooves and staggering improvisational proficiency contained within McCann’s peppy output point to a lifelong appreciation of guitar luminaries such as Wes Montgomery, Bill Frisell and John Scofield – yet he also reveals a no-holes-barred enthusiasm for the heavier, solid-body jazz/rock influence of Mike Stern, Allan Holdsworth and especially John McLaughlin (Pete was guitarist in convincing US tribute band The Mahavishnu Project, endorsed by the great man). Here, with his four trusted colleagues, McCann produces a compelling, immaculately-produced programme that radiates a passion for today’s thriving, progressive jazz scene.
Opener 'Kenny' recalls the melodic and harmonic invention of the late, great Canadian trumpeter; and 'Realm' (a nod to NYC pianist Richie Beirach) resounds to O’Gallagher’s elaborate alto pyrotechnics. As hot as jalapeño, 'Mustard' roars to heady sax-led motifs, wailing Hammond B-3 and gritty American-rock guitar; abstractly mysterious 'Numinous' echoes McCann’s involvement in O’Gallagher’s exploration of 12-tonism (The Anton Webern Project, also recorded on Whirlwind), while the guitarist pays homage to the fluidity of Lee Konitz’s writing in 'Rumble'. And for possibly the wildest jazz rock-out of the year – referencing the angst of New Jersey’s infamous lane closure debacle – 'Bridge Scandal' becomes characterized by the leader’s audacious fretboard velocity, and is quite simply a show-stealer…
In this most absorbing of releases, Pete McCann’s unerring artistry is equalled only by his vehement personality: “It feels really exciting to be working with Whirlwind, and in Europe, for the first time. I hope that audiences will be pleasantly surprised by what they hear and will recognise my influences as a player and writer.”
"A formidable, flexible outfit with a built-in chemistry and an audacious streak... A remarkable post-Pat Metheny contemporary jazz guitarist."
★★★★½ DownBeat Magazine
“The album is an object lesson in chiaroscuro invention, naturally inviting frequent replays.”
★★★★ All About Jazz
“Switching from cerebral, passive engagement to supercharged emotional connectivity.”
Bird is the Worm
“A tasty set that let’s the chops fly with that kind of flow that makes it sound easier than it is.”
“Range maintains a real buzz through its vibrancy and impressive musicality, and is thoroughly recommendable.”
"Range is an album of varied styles, mostly jazz with some interesting exceptions but above all it has been put together by intelligent musicians and will repay repeated listening to appreciate the intricacy of the music."
Sandy Brown Jazz
"For 25 years guitarist Pete McCann has been active at the forefront of the New York scene, and his new album Range is loaded with an illustrious quintet."
★★★★ Switzerland on Sunday
"McCann's versatility proves that he is capable of both composing and playing in a range of styles, from languid sensitivity to raw full-on power."
★★★★ All About Jazz
"Guitarist Pete McCann and his quintet tackle ten of McCann’s forthright originals on the excellent Range. With the vigorous bass and drums team of Matt Clohesy and Mark Ferber anchoring the group’s sound, McCann, keyboardist Henry Hey and alto saxophonist John O’Gallagher are free to indulge their improvisational fancies."
"It's both a wide range of stylistic influences and a demonstration of the broad creative nature and harmonic inquisitiveness of Pete McCann's artistry."
The New York City Jazz Record
"Deft and clever, the title reflects well the width and breadth of this creative guitarist and composer."
“Lyrically spun, tight swinging tunes and powerful fusion-like composition.”
“Predominantly modern jazz that moves between tradition and modernity with a short stopover in the jazz-rock of the seventies.”
Musik an sich
It’s high time for Pete McCann to finally gain a foothold in Europe. 'Range' may just be the breakthrough!”
"Those perfectly acceptable opening tracks are more than the stuff of just-another-jazz-guitar-recording… now they’re the lead-up to liftoff, when the musicians let loose, and technical precision transforms into a wild energy unleashed."
Bird is the Worm
“This engrossing programme of material is a joy, with McCann’s pacy, athletic soloists borne up by his crafty arrangements.”
★★★★ Jazz Journal
"An irresistible, perfectly produced program, which exudes a passion for today's popular progressive jazz."
"Exciting. Full of surprises and with imaginative melodies and harmonies."
Digitale Jazz Zeitung
"The pieces meander between uptempo and thoughtfully reflective. A flawless performance."
Sound & Image
"Together, McCann with drummer Mark Ferber, bassist Matt Clohesy, pianist Henry Hey and saxophonist John O'Gallagher imbue the ten songs on the album with a wonderfully earthy groove far away from the monotony of the so-called 'mainstream'."
"The musicianship is first rate and the solos, particularly by the leader and O'Gallagher, were fantastic."
Jazz and Blues
"A disc filled with robust, daring, colourful music."