East Coast Standards Time

East Coast Standards Time


On July 13,2007, ECST "Impressions" All Star Concert performed to a packed room at The Knoxville Museum of Art. Carlos Fernandez, Rich Walker, Mark Boling Trio, Richard Drexler, Steve Davidowski, and guest Jeff Coffin (2007 Grammy winner with Bela Fleck). A great day for music it was!


Spotlight CD this week arrives by way of Knoxville, Tennessee and the Altru Music label. The name of the combo answers the riddle of our title: EAST COAST STANDARDS TIME, and the title of the album is IMPRESSIONS (Altru Music). The album is a mix of both easily recognized standards and original compositions, with an eclectic mix of titles that cover straight ahead, latin and Brazilian themes, but above all the music really swings!

IMPRESSIONS and Altru Music are the brainchild of percussionist Carlos Fernandez who has assembled some of the finest jazz musicians in the southern region, including guitarists Rich Walker and Mark Boling, pianist Richard Drexler and a host of world class latin percussionists led by Mr. Fernandez.

"Dr." Bob Stockton "Modern Jazz Classics"

In an MTV day and age, when some public radio stations are afraid to play anything newer than from circa
1959, it is easy to understand the impression left on our younger generation that jazz was made by
generations past. Happily the proclamations of jazz's death are vastly premature. It is groups such as"East Coast Standards Time" that speak loudly and clearly the message that jazz is very much alive, thank you very much. They accomplish this though a much overlooked aspect of jazz these days -namely"original composition". Seven of the eleven tracks on "Impressions" are originals, and two others are new arrangements of standards. Some sonic highlights on this album for me include the beautiful flute work by Rex Wertz and Ira Sullivan (check out Ira's lead on the title track) and the addition of some nice organ sounds on three tracks by Steve Davidowski. My favorite track has to be "Silver Apples" written by guitarist Mark Boling, which has a fluid, contemporary feel and features some nice piano work by noted multi-instrumentalist Richard Drexler. The group easily moves from one rhythmic feel to another, including Latin and Brazilian - thanks to percussionist and producer Carlos Fernandez's able touch. Guitarist Rich Walker's beautiful "Stumbin (in the footsteps of giants)" pays respectful homage to influential jazz giant John Coltrane, but I don't hear
any stumblin'!
I'm proud to say that we had the 2005 release from The Rich Walker Sextet (companion group to ECST), "Bar Hop", in heavy rotation at KSJS, and we will give "Impressions" heavy airplay as well. I anticipate a much lengthier life span for jazz, thanks to artists like East Coast Standards Time!

Dr. Brad Stone
Music Director
KSJS-FM, San Jose, CA

Metro Pulse Knoxville, TN
May 17, 2007 CD Review
Kevin Crowe

East Coast Standards Time

Even for the non-jazz enthusiast, the latest album from East Coast Standards Time is not difficult to latch onto. Impressions has a laid back quality thatconjures images of cabanas and vast ocean views (as seen on the back of the CD
case). There's no need to hav a working knowledge of Miles Davis' Kind of Blue to enjoy the seamless flute work by Rex Wertz on "Speaking of Wes" or Rich Walker's guitar as it keeps pace with Wertz's tenor sax on "Blues For JR."

Produced by percussionist Carlos Fernandez's Knoxville-based label, Altru Music, the album isn't the typical lock-step reworking of sets by Davis and
John Coltrane, though Walker, who is no stranger to local jazz clubs, arranges a quality Coltrane tribute on "Stumblin' (in the footsteps of giants)." It's 11 tracks, seven of them original that will introduce you to the softer, gentler side of jazz.


East Coast Standards Time CD Review in Jazz Improv Autumn 2004, Vol. 5,
Number 1

Sugar Plum; Alfredo; Nature Boy; I’ve Got A Crush On You; Solar; Some Time Ago; All The Things You Are; Fat City Bernice; Mescalito; SunSun Babae-Epilogue.

PERSONNEL: Rich Walker, guitar; Ira Sullivan, tenor sax; Richard Drexler, Mark McKee, piano; Mike Bocchicchio, bass; Walt Hubbard, drums; Carlos Fernandez, congas, bongos, percussion; Rex Wertz, flute; Donald Brown, Fender Rhodes, piano, and string synth.

By Winthrop Bedford

East Coast Standards Time opens gently with the Bill Evans composition “Sugar Plum” originally recorded by the composer on the Bill Evans Album (Columbia) around 1971. The track begins freely, with guitarist Rich Walker creating the freely interpreted introduction. He quickly takes the melody, and Mark McKee on piano, Richard Drexler, bass and Walt Hunbard on drums provide a supportive two-beat cushion, that opens up to a straight ahead 4/4 groove with the piano solo. McKee demonstrates more of the influence of McCoy Tyner than Evans on his solo.
The group adds tenor saxophonist Ira Sullivan for “Alfredo,” and ratchets the energy up several notches for this minor blues. Sullivan is up first. He turns in a strong, swinging solo. Richard Drexler w


East Coast Standards Time CD Review in Jazz Improv Summer 2007, Vol. 7, No. 3

IMPRESSIONS-Altru Music. Web: www.altrumusic.com www.cfernandezmusic.com

Speaking of Wes; Impressions; Samia; Fine and You?; Blues for J.R.; Up Jumped Spring; Twenty-five Times Around the Sun; Xibaba; Silver Apples; Stumblin’ (in the Footsteps of Giants); So Far Away.

PERSONNEL: Ira Sullivan, flute, alto flute, cabasa; Rex Wertz, flute, tenor saxophone; Rich Walker, guitar, vocal; Mark Boling, guitar; Richard Drexler, piano; Carlos Fernandez, congas, percussion, vocal; Rusty Holloway, bass; Keith Brown, drums; Steve Davidowski, organ, soprano saxophone; Count M’Butu, congas; Ken Laderoute, guitar; Ozzie Orengo, Sr., congas; Pito Orengo, timbales, cascara; Fabrizia Barresi, vocal; John Inglese, trombone; Grant Cuthbertson, bass

By Jim Santella

Its title track, John Coltrane’s “Impressions,” gives this album by East Coast Standards Time a reflection of the Era when certain songs made it big. They stayed around awhile and became a part of the jazz vocabulary. Freddie Hubbard’s eloquent “Up Jumped Spring” and Les McCann’s exotic “Samia” play a major role in establishing that link here; however, most of the program features original songs by the band. They’ve adopted a cool approach that applies both to the standards and their originals. The band’s instrumentation is interesting. Flutes, guitars, piano, and several key rhythm-makers cover the territory with gentle action. Their approach is more Wes Montgomery and Herbie Mann than what came from jazz’s influential trumpet/saxophone quintets of the straight-ahead realm. Additionally, the Latin jazz flavor gives East Coast Standards Time a unique perspective. They’re modern, they swing, and the band remains cool in its approach to a melody.
“Silver Apples” features guitarist Mark Boling and pianist Richard Drexler in a languid affair that falls gently on fluffy feet. “So Far Away” features Ira Sullivan on alto flute with a soulful ballad that pours like ether. “Fine and You?” swings lightly with a two-guitar front line that captures the blues in its approach, while “Blues for J.R. drives fast and light in a straight-ahead jazz arrangement. “Stumbin’ (in the Footsteps of Giants)” refers to John Coltrane’s “Giant Steps,” upon which the song is built. Guitarist Rich Walker takes the opportunity to fire away with a blaze of 16th-notes that follow the song’s harmonic progressions. The texture, however, remains smooth and cool throughout. To that smooth guitar/organ texture, add the fiery conga work of Carlos Fernandez and you have a unique East Coast ensemble with a voice all its own.
2007 Altru Music
Recorded at Al Smith Studios Knoxville TN.
Mixing - Audio Conscious, Ken LaDeroute
Mastering - SEVA at Soundcurrent

East Coast Standards Time
2004 Altru Music
Ed Krout @ Phat Planet Studio Orlando, Florida