The Mar Vista Philharmonic – No Forest Fire

MarVista[1] copy

Any fan of Tommy Mars‘ improvisational keyboards and scat filled solos within such classic Zappa compositions as “Pound For A Brown (On The Bus)” or “Little House I Used To Live In” will absolutely love the four tracks (“No Forest Fire”, “Prison Bush”, “Bitches Castle”, and “Here, George”) which make up The Mar Vista Philharmonic CD, No Forest Fire.

The release of this performance of four group improvisations from the evening of August 22, 2002 is the first official release of one of the free form sessions I have been hosting at my studio in Los Angeles since the early 1990′s. It also marks the first, last, and only time this particular group of musicians played together. Though Bruce, Walt, Tommy, Kurt and Larry had been involved in many other such sessions, this was the first time Vinnie had joined us. I believe it was one of the best line-ups I have been able to assemble. Unfortunately, Kurt is no longer with us, so this recording captured the only performance of that special combination. We miss you, Kurt.

– Arthur Barrow, from CD liner notes

From the first track to the last, these improvisations have a wonderful “free jazz” quality to them. Indeed, it is because of the immensely high caliber of each musician, their sensitivity to each other and their own particular instruments and abilities which creates this awesomely inspired music. A tribute to each one of them.

As a sample, I offer the following track, Prison Bush:

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The Mar Vista Philharmonic is the new name of this group, partly known under the name of The Band From Utopia, continuing the musical legacy of the late Frank Zappa. Now the music is a free jazz jam, more Miles Davis than Frank Zappa:

Tommy Mars – Hammond organ, Fender Rhodes electric piano, vocals
Walt Fowler – trumpet, flugel horn
Bruce Fowler – trombone
Larry Klimas – tenor sax, soprano sax
Kurt McGettrick – bass clarinet, baritone sax
Arthur Barrow – electric bass
Vinnie Colaiuta – drums

No Forest Fire is available through either Hot Club Records or Qualiton Imports Ltd.

Note: if we are infringing on anyone’s copyright, contact KUR and we’ll remove the offending material.

10 Responses to “The Mar Vista Philharmonic – No Forest Fire”

  1. Grimpoteuthis says:

    Amazing cd purchased it a few weeks ago hasn’t left my car disc player.

  2. Roscoe Bledsoe says:

    Old [white] dudes playing a grooveless, funkless freeform jam–even the sound mix is jarring and harsh–sorry!

  3. Stinks says:

    Stinks out loud.

  4. urbangraffito says:

    A quote from Roscoe Bledsoe:

    Old [white] dudes playing a grooveless, funkless freeform jam–even the sound mix is jarring and harsh–sorry!

    These so-called “old white dudes” have individual and collective musical curriculum vitae that put most other musicians to shame. It is such a treat to hear Tommy Mars (why he hasn’t released a solo album is a real mystery to me) as well as the late Kurt McGettrick. This CD has some of the best free jazz I’ve heard in a very long time, and one surely must acknowledge both the influence of Miles Davis in both it’s creation and performance. But funkless? Hardly. Then again, I have the entire CD to listen to, while such a “jarring and harsh” opinion is made on the basis of just one track.

  5. Chuck says:

    A quote from Roscoe Bledsoe:

    Old [white] dudes playing a grooveless, funkless freeform jam–even the sound mix is jarring and harsh–sorry!

    Oh yeah this sux… if only it were young [black] chicks playing a grooving funk composition with a smooth mix, that would have been so awesome!!!

    But really Arthur and Vinnie really know what each other had for breakfast, Tommy is just filth as always and the horns are the icing on the cake…. for free improv really tasty.

  6. Kevin Hoover says:

    Personally I like things that are more structured. And funny.

    I think that this is the sort of music that appeals most to musicians.

  7. urbangraffito says:

    A quote from Chuck:

    A quote from Roscoe Bledsoe:

    Old [white] dudes playing a grooveless, funkless freeform jam–even the sound mix is jarring and harsh–sorry!

    Oh yeah this sux… if only it were young [black] chicks playing a grooving funk composition with a smooth mix, that would have been so awesome!!!

    But really Arthur and Vinnie really know what each other had for breakfast, Tommy is just filth as always and the horns are the icing on the cake…. for free improv really tasty.

    Hmmmmm….ageism, sexism, and racism (all in the same comment). Amazing.

  8. Chuck says:

    A quote from urbangraffito:

    Hmmmmm….ageism, sexism, and racism (all in the same comment). Amazing.

    ?????????

  9. Sharleena says:

    A quote from urbangraffito:

    A quote from Chuck:

    A quote from Roscoe Bledsoe:

    Old [white] dudes playing a grooveless, funkless freeform jam–even the sound mix is jarring and harsh–sorry!

    Oh yeah this sux… if only it were young [black] chicks playing a grooving funk composition

    Hmmmmm….ageism, sexism, and racism (all in the same comment). Amazing.

    I believe Chuck’s comment was meant to be sarcastic! I say!

  10. urbangraffito says:

    Of course, Chuck’s comment was meant to be sarcastic. Just as I wouldn’t point a finger at anyone at KUR and call them a racist or a sexist or an ageist, point blank, though sometimes in popular culture, and in jazz in particular, the debate that only musicians with dark skin can play jazz properly has really gotten quite old…(there I go, using age as a metaphor myself, when will it end — maybe when, and if the MVP produce a video….)

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