Jack Goodstein | CD Review

Doc Stewart

If the concept behind Code Blue!, the Doc Stewart album released in June, is what he calls the “resuscitation ” of the big band sound, or perhaps even more miraculously the resurrection of that sound, not only does it work as a metaphor, but if enough jazz fans give it a listen, it is in fact likely to rise to miracle. And that is only fitting since not only is Stewart a fine alto sax player working with a talented group of musicians, but he is also an ER physician at the prestigious Mayo Clinic. Who better to resuscitate (resurrect) a patient hovering between life and death?

Hyperbole aside, Code Blue! is an album with a truly authentic big band sound. Much of it relies on some excellent arrangements from Tom Kubis or the band’s pianist Matt Catingub. Whether taking a classic tune like “The Way You Look Tonight” or an original piece like Stewart’s “Patty’s Bossa,” they manage to find the right combination of traditional big band riffs and creative variations to achieve a sound that echoes, but doesn’t merely copy the past-big band with a contemporary vibe.

The album opens with “The Code Blue Suite,” a four-part Kubis and Stewart composition that musically channels theCode_Blue_Poster life and death experience of the ER. The parts move from the innocence of birth, “Code Pink,” through “Ironman Blues,” which alludes to the man who feels he has the strength to deal with everything on his own, and “The Last Breath Blues,” a portrayal of the human need to find something larger than the self. It ends with “Code Jesus,” a gospel-like assertion of faith. Stewart, a Cannonball Adderley aficionado ends appropriately with a quotation from “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy.”

There is a sweet version of “Poor Butterfly” with featured work by Stewart and Bill Liston. The set also includes tunes by Adderley (“The Sticks” and “Introduction to a Samba”), Oscar Pettiford (“Bohemia After Dark”) and Charles Lloyd (“Song My Lady Sings”). With 14 songs in total, the album offers almost an hour and 20 minutes of exciting big band jazz, plenty to keep discerning listeners smiling.

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JITH Recording | Doc Stewart Trio

Doc Stewart


You can download the recorded tunes from the September 5th JITH concert from my public Dropbox folder.
 I used a Sony PCM-M10 with the built-in stereo mics.Meditation

Groovin' High

 

Stars Fell on Alabama

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Doc Stewart Performance | Jazz In The Hills

Doc Stewart

Doc StewartDoc Stewart Trio with Chris Finet (bass) & John Lewis (drums).

Friday September 5th 7-9:30 $10

Desert Canyon Golf Club
10440 N Indian Wells Dr. Fountain Hills, AZ 85268

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Review | Jazz Weekly

Doc Stewart

George W. Harris for Jazz Weekly As a doctor who practices between patients myself, I’ve got to admit I’m quite impressed by the alto sax work of Doc Stewart, who practices up in Minnesota, and must’ve come out to LA for some sunshine awhile back, as the best Angelenos are on this hot little session.

Stewart’s got a warm and clean tone, and he’s got some chops! He shows no sense of intimidation on the lightning fast take of “Bohemia After Dark,” and shows he’s got the funk factor on the four part “Code Blue Suite.” His tone glistens on the ballad “Homage to Bud Shank” and can boogie with the best on Bobby Timmons’ soulful “Dis Here.” Trumpeter Ron Stout sizzles on “Introduction to a Samba” and “Snakin’ the Grass’ while the flutes frame Stewart on Charles Lloyd’s “son My Lady Sings” to perfection. With the way health insurance is going these days, this guy’s got a great way to supplement his income! Gotta see this guy in concert-it’s definitely be cheaper than an office visit!

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Mayo Clinic | Doc Stewart & Dan Delaney

Doc Stewart

Some snapshots from my recent concerts at the Mayo Clinic with Dan Delaney._MG_9306_MG_9287

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Review | Joe Lang

Doc Stewart

Joel_LangSeptember issue of Jersey Jazz by Joe Lang The DOC STEWART BIG BAND RESUSCITATION has an interesting leader.  Stewart is a doctor at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona, but performed as a professional musician prior to his current profession.  He has continued to play jazz all through his life, and for Code Blue (Cannonball Jazz–2014) he has recruited a first call crew of players from the Los Angeles area to play a program of terrific arrangements by Tom Kubis and Matt Catingub.  The centerpiece of the album is the four-part “Code Blue Suite,” composed by Stewart and Kubis.  It is based on Stewart’s experiences as a doctor in the ER.  This is a program that demonstrates the best of modern big band writing and playing, creative and satisfying.

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Review | Vic Arnold

Doc Stewart

Chris ” Doc ” Stewart is a prominent emergency room doctor with the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona. He plays alto saxophone and he is a dedicated follower of Julian ” Cannonball ” Adderley.    Code Blue !, is what is called out in the emergency room when a patient has a cardiac or respiratory arrest, so its a fitting title for a recording made by a doctor who spends his working life saving lives.

This recording commences with a four part composition by Tom Kubis and Doc Stewart entitled The Code Blue Suite and covers birth to death and then on to rebirth.  

The Code Blue Suite was written by Doc Stewart with Tom Kubis. Click here for a video of a live performance of Code Pink – Born To See Blues by the Tom Kubis Big Band. Doc Stewart is on alto.

The remaining 10 tracks are a mixture of old and new compositions, two by ‘Cannonball’ Adderley, some by Tom Kubis and Doc Stewart, and the remainder are standards.

Click here to listen to Hal Galper’s Snakin’ The Grass from the album. The arrangement is by Tom Kubis and Ron Stout is on trumpet, Kevin Axt, bass.

There are 19 musicians on this recording, 6 reeds, 10 brass, and piano, bass and drums, all from the Los Angeles area. They all play well, but, to my mind, the arrangements could have had more ” bounce “. If you enjoy big band music this recording may very well be for you. I particularly liked their version of Bobby Timmons’s Dis Here and Oscar Pettiford’s Bohemia After Dark, and the Code Blue Suite certainly has its moments. Vic Arnold for Sandy Brown Jazz

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Review | Jazzaholic Don Albert

Doc Stewart

Doc Stewart: Code Blue! Chris “Doc” Stewart is an ER Doctor for the Mayo Clinic Hospital besides being a superlative alto saxman, as you’ll hear throughout, and he’s a Julian ‘Cannonball’ Adderley historian. The arrangements are by Tom Kubis or Matt Catingub and mention must be made about the incredible lead trumpet playing of Wayne Bergeron. “Homage To Bud Shank” has the sax section sounding like Supersax on what might be a Shank solo, written out and harmonised. The amazing sax section is also featured on “Poor Butterfly” and “The Way You Look Tonight”. Lots of soloists over the 14 tracks of good music.  The Jazzaholic – Don AlbertDon_Albert

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Review | Rotcod Zzaj

Doc Stewart

Rotcod Zzaj - Improvijazzation NationIf ever you need a total “jazz fix”, Doc & his crew are the right place to get it, I’ll tell you!  It’s a followup to his 2005 CD that paid tribute to Cannonball Adderley – & this outing ROCKS, folks!  Pieces like “Ironman Blues” will surely set your socks afire & require a visit to get you back in order again!  I truly loved the funky environment of “Snakin’ The Grass” – but not to worry, Doc’s got the cure, so wander right along with the slithery beats (some GREAT keyboards on this tune!!!).  Of the 11 tunes offered up, my personal favorite was the back-alley flavor on “Bohemia After Dark“… Doc’s woodwinds administer just the right amount of musical meds to make this one of your favorite CD’s of 2014 (& for a long time to come).  I give Doc & crew a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, as well as a perfect 5.00 for “EQ” (energy quotient).  That means it gets the “PICK” of this issue for “best high-energy jazz band).  Rotcod Zzaj

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Review | George Fendel

Doc Stewart
George Fendel

George Fendel

Chris “Doc” Stewart’s “other job” finds him in the Mayo Clinic as an ER physician. But don’t worry. This is distinctly not one of those, “I think I’ll make a record” vanity things. Instead, Stewart is an accomplished alto player in the lineage of Cannonball Adderley and other soulful cats such as Sonny Criss or Ike Quebec. For this impressive session, he got some respected Los Angeles players into the studio for a stirring big band session with a soulful emphasis. Stewart’s “Code Blue Suite,” a four-part endeavor, gets things started. It is followed by additional works by the likes of Bobby Timmons, Charles Lloyd, Hal Galper and Cannonball himself, among others. A couple of standards, ”Poor Butterfly” and “The Way You Look Tonight,” also work very well. Finally, there’s an album highlight in Oscar Pettiford’s “Bohemia After Dark.” Arrangements are from another big band dude, Tom Kubis, and from the pianist on the date, Matt Catingub. Try your best to avoid Stewart’s ER services. His alto saxophone is where you want to be.

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