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South Florida Jazz Orchestra

Cheap Thrills: The Music of Rick Margitza

Review by Gary Hill

This album perhaps leans more toward standard jazz than fusion, but that fusion connection is solid enough for me to include it under prog (which is where we put fusion). Whatever you call it, though, this is an entertaining instrumental album. It has a good range and a lot of entertaining music. I highly recommend this to all fans of jazz.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2020  Volume 5. More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2020.

Track by Track Review
Cheap Thrills
Percussion and piano are the first instruments heard here. The cut grows and expands from there with more of a fusion sound beginning to permeate as it does so. I love the cool guitar solo that emerges later on along this road. There is some pretty impressive horn work on the number, too. Then again, everyone puts in solid performances here. The number works through a number of movements and variants as it carries along the route.
The Place to Be
This number has more of a traditional jazz vibe at its heart. There are some pretty interesting bits of melody and counter-melody as this exploration works through. Piano takes over for a time.
Widow's Walk
I love the dramatic and mysterious sounding jam that begins this. It's packed with magic and feels a bit like something that could have been used in a movie soundtrack in the early 70s, There seems to be a wider ranging scope to this piece. It really feels like an epic journey. It's one of the highlights of the disc.
Brace Yourself
Playful and energetic, there is a real fun-loving nature to this thing. It's another effective slab of jazz jamming. I particularly enjoy the guitar work on the tune. This even includes a drum solo along its path. While it's a classy song, it's not one of my favorites here.
45 Pound Hound
A bit more experimental and odd, there is a lot of drama and magic built into this. The bass really has some killer jamming in the backdrop of this number. The piece has more classic jazz built into, but also explores into fusion zones, as well. This is a unique and unusual cut that is among the highlights of the disc. It's quite a ride.
Premonition
Starting more reflective, this works out with style into a more powered up thing at times. This is another that makes me think of music that would have been at home in a 70s movie soundtrack. I'd consider this to be another standout cut. It has some particularly potent passages as it runs through.
Walls
This comes in mellower. The track works out from there with a lot of style. I really dig the piano solo on this thing. I'd consider this to be another highlight. It really has a lot of feeling and groove to it.       
Sometimes I Have Rhythm

The driving energy of this is a great complement to this killer melodic lines. This is a powerhouse jazz piece that has so much style packed into it. There is some powerhouse horn playing on this number.

Embraceable You
This jazz standard gets an intriguing interpretation here. It's packed with some beautiful melodies. It's a slow moving tapestry of sound. While I like this, it's not a highlight for me. It definitely has its charms, though. The unaccompanied horn solo as it comes near the end is a nice touch.
 
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