Peter Sommer Septet | November CD of the Month

Nov 17, 2017

Peter Sommer Septet
Credit Peter Sommer

Our November CD of the Month selection is by one of the Front Range’s most formidable aggregations led by educator and superb saxophonist Peter Sommer. For us in Colorado the title of the album, Happy-Go-Lucky-Locals rings true as the Peter Sommer Septet are a local ensemble featuring seven of our best players. Happy-Go-Lucky-Local is a famous 1940s composition of Duke Ellington who had his own train for himself and the band to travel from engagement to engagement to avoid the perils of segregation.  In the early 1950s, Jimmy Forrest took Happy-Go-Lucky-Local, rearranged and recorded it as Night Train which has become an extremely popular song recorded by dozens of jazz, blues, R n’ B and even Latin musicians. Naturally this CD includes a swingin’ rendition of the title track alongside eight other magnetic selections, three of which are Peter Sommer originals in addition to the six standards of the session.

Accompanying Peter on the musical sojourn are: Ben Markley-piano, Eduardo “Bijoux” Barbosa-bass, Paul Romaine-drums, Will Swindler-alto & baritone saxes, clarinet-Al Hood-trumpet & flugelhorn, and Paul McKee on trombone. Not only an outstanding group of players, but all are educators as well. Peter Sommer is an associate professor at the College of Liberal Arts at Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO.

Here’s the background of how this recording came to be in the works of Peter Sommer:

“In January of 2016 as my 40th birthday approached, I was fortunate enough to have the chance to present a concert at Denver’s Dazzle Jazz in celebration of the milestone. While the initial inclination was to present an evening original music from the previous couple of decades, after giving it some thought, I decided that the best present I could give myself and hopefully the Colorado jazz community was a couple of sets of swinging improvisation, featuring some of my favorite musicians playing music by my favorite jazz composers. Using four horns gave me the chance to write music slightly more elaborate than a typical small group without falling into the necessary tropes of big band music. The evening was a great success and very meaningful and inspirational to me, and I was very happy that we continued to perform together throughout the year.”

Not only is Peter Sommer happy they continued to play, all of us jazz fans of the Front Range are elated the septet recorded as a unit. Also, this CD will garner frequent airplay at many jazz broadcasting outlets across the USA and beyond to add more attention and glamor to the jazz scene of the Front Range that is rapidly growing in stature around the world. When you listen to this recording, you too will become a happy-go-lucky-local wherever your locality may be.

Peter Sommer
Credit Colorado State University