Project Them
Project Them
Miles High Records ***1/2

No, not a garage rock concept band or indeed album, but a reunion of vibes player Mark Sherman and tenor saxophonist/flautist Bob Franceschini (Mike Stern-Victor Wooten band/Yellowjackets), high school buddies in New York many moons ago. This is their long dreamt-of idea of putting together a band and now realised at last. So in come pianist/B3 organist Mitchel Forman (alternating with pianist Paolo di Sabatino), bassist Martin Gjakonovski, and Impossible Gentlemen drummer Adam Nussbaum to join the pair. A Downbeat poll-garlanded winner over the last six years Sherman reminds me of Mike Mainieri a bit, and that warm Steps Ahead sound you can pick up on easily in a di Sabatino tune such as ‘Ma Bo’s Waltz’. Nussbaum is firing on all cylinders, as snappily propulsive and cultured a drummer as you’d care to wish for, and if you’ve heard and enjoyed the recently-released Internationally Recognised Aliens www.marlbank.net/reviews/928-just-to-see-you you’ll dig this. Franceschini has a big, warm sound; and it’s surprisingly nimble in the Michael Brecker mould, as he proved in a different context with Mike Stern and Victor Wooten at the Sligo Jazz Festival in July. Recorded in Italy last November Project Them’s ten tunes saw composition contributions from everyone on the record plus the Paul Williams/Johnny Mandel standard ‘Close Enough For Love’ a song both Peggy Lee and Shirley Horn covered an extra. Project Them will restore your faith in jazz, should it ever need restoring, a band to bring a smile to your face for all the right reasons. SG