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"Stradling is an excellent player, with an excellent band,
and some fine composing abilities.
"

Les Is Mo' reviews:

Four Out Of Five Stars ****

On his Origin Records debut, Los Angeles pianist Geoff Stradling makes short work of showing why he was picked by the label. While the focus of Origin is generally on Northwest artists, they have some fair leniency if the music is good, and will pick up exceptional players that might not have been heard before otherwise. In the case of Stradling, you've probably heard him at some point in the past with his performances built in everywhere from Univision to Entertainment Tonight to Jane's Addiction. Here though, he isn't writing a jingle or theme. He's going through his roots and influences in jazz, and with a very solid accompanying band he lets loose on a whole range of styles. There's a clear Latin influence in a number of the tracks here, jumping from Cuba to Brazil and back regularly. There are also touches of postbop and soul jazz sprinkled liberally throughout, with multiple homages to the greats in the title track (Les McCann being the ‘Les') and half of the piano solos reminiscent in some way of Bill Evans. In particular, You Don't Know That shows off a good deal of Evans' style, and an even greater deal of Stradling's chops. The numbers here are nearly all original, and the compositions are nearly flawless. Stradling is an excellent player, with an excellent band, and some fine composing abilities. Absolutely worth a listen.

- Adam Greenberg, All Music Guide

Four Out Of Five Stars ****

Geoff Stradling is a man of many tastes. His Origin release gives his audience the chance to take a musical journey with him. The pristine sound that Stradling presents on the CD is an added bonus with Geoff himself both producing and engineering his maiden effort for the label. Recorded in February and August 2006, at Stradman Music (Stradling's own studio?), Stradling has made an effort to explore a myriad of jazz styles, which he describes as a "collection of short stories."

Let's describe the journey: The CD begins with Les is Mo', the title cut a tribute to the great Les McCann, who is still going strong today. It's a funky piece and Rick Kelly has a hot tenor solo. Stradling's piano playing is sparkling and has a Latinesque feel. Ramon Banda's drums are upfront and push the beat along. His cymbal work is dominant. You Don't Know That follows and is a fast waltz which is propelled by Keller's soprano and Stradling's fast crystalline runs. It really has a catchy beat and Keller and Geoff play well off each other.

Now How Much Would You Pay is described as a right hand/left hand piece with the sax playing off Geoff's right hand and the bass doubling off Stradling's left hand. It's a challenging number and mid-number the sax takes over with a full range series of choruses. Karasony makes his presence felt here as well with a strong finish. Eventually is a stunner with Geoff in an Bill Evans mood, Bruce Lett laying down a mellow bass line, and Keller again showing off his tenor chops. Eventually is taken at a  just-right pace with Stradling impressing the listener with his lyrical, moody composition. This track deserves some air time on the radio and would make great late night listening in a dark room overlooking a city scape.

Stella by Starlight is fully Latinized in an Afro Cuban beat with Michael Spiro getting to show off his percussion skills. Rene and Ramon shine here as well, but it's mostly a feature for percussion and Geoff's Latin chops. Let's Mosey swings in a straight-ahead manner and Keller shows he can play in most any jazz style; here in a post bop swagger. Geoff has several swinging choruses himself. Lett's bass solo stands out here as well.

The journey continues with a trip to the tropics with Tradewinds. Gary Foster provides the flute solo that opens the winds and you can feel the warm breeze before Geoff steps in with some introspective playing that completes the mood. It's samba meeting Afro Cuban. The Smile on Your Face is more jazz waltzing in a trio setting and I enjoyed Lett's bass lines again. Stradling has a jazz feel for sparkling piano runs that both stimulate and relax the listener.

Stradling describes And There It Was, as a "fusion" jazz samba, which is quite a jazz melting pot. It's a stew that blends Karasony's strong drumming with more of Keller's sax mastery. Stradling ends our jazz journey with Maybe Next Time, a ballad featuring electric bass, keyboards, synthesizer,and soprano sax.

Geoff Stradling's Origin release has a little something for everyone on the jazz spectrum - from straight ahead introspection to funky to Afro-Cuban. It will be interesting where he takes us next - whether it be another musical journey or a stop in a specific genre. With Les is Mo' Stradling makes it an intriguing guess as to where his next recording will take us.

- Jeff Krow, Audiophile Audition

Pianist Geoff Stradling arranged for each of the ten selections on his latest release to represent a different view of modern jazz. Besides the usual personnel changes during the session, he’s instituted striking differences in the music so that we end up with impressions that honor Miles Davis, Eddie Harris, Dexter Gordon, Bill Evans, Aaron Copland and plenty more. The piano trio makes up a portion of his program, while others who contribute include Gary Foster on flute, Rick Keller on alto, soprano and tenor saxophone, Michael Spiro on added percussion, and rhythm sections that pair bassist Bruce Lett with drummer Dave Karasony and bassist Rene Camacho with drummer Ramon Banda.

Stradling prefers a contemporary sound that lets his acoustic piano keyboard animation flow quickly. His high energy couples with bass and drums to keep things moving freely. Saxophonist Keller, who adopts a metallic tone from the brighter side of melodic jazz, paints one selection after another with vibrant colors. Similarly, Stradling allows his piano to pierce with melodic twinkles that linger in your ear. Their sound, as contemporary as that of Saturday Night Live, won’t let any of their ideas fade away. Throughout most of the program, the music stays in your face, and up in arms with an inborn tension that pushes hard.

- Jim Santella, L.A. Jazz Scene

Nothing there prepares you for this album, an easy swinging concoction with Rick Keller's saxes adding warmth and a bit of edge, nicely seasoned with a bit of Latin percussion. Delightful.

-Tom Hull (The Village Voice)
Ray of Sunshine reviews:

The saving grace in Ray of Sunshine is the connection between The Count and Rachael, as well as the music that they share. Music, everything from jazz to classical, plays an important part in the film. An original piece dubbed "Rachael's Waltz" (composed by newcomer Geoff Stradling) is wonderful and helps gloss over the rougher moments of the film.

-Kevin Wohler, FilmGuru.net
"The film has a strong jazz score".
Writing about the world premier of the feature film "Ray Of Sunshine"


-Robert W. Butler, Kansas City Star

 

©2007 Geoff Stradling

 

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