Soth And Caruso
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Soth And Caruso


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"WDCB CD Review"

Soth and Caruso
’Songs from the Kingdom of Jazz’ is a stellar disc from a couple of Chicago jazz veterans, Jim Massoth (woodwinds) and Frank Caruso (piano). While they have played together for years, it is their first release together as co-leaders. Joining them are many equally-adept Chicago heavies, including Jonathan Paul (bass), Bob Rummage (drums), Tom Hipskind (drums), Ron Ruvio (trumpet), and Chris Siebold (guitar).

used by permission from Chicago Jazz Magazine

by WDCB Music Director Paul Abella

Released: March 2008
Record Label: self-published
CD Website: on

Jim Massoth -- tenor saxophone
Frank Caruso – piano
Jonathan Paul – bass
Bob Rummage – drums
Tom Hipskind -- drums (tracks 2,4)
Ron Ruvio -- trumpet (tracks 3,5,8)
Chris Siebold -- guitar (tracks 2,4)

Songs from the Kingdom of Jazz, a collaborative effort between saxophonist Jim Massoth and pianist Frank Caruso, could have just as easily been called Groove. It starts out with an irresistible groove, and its finest moments are great because of the tasty grooves that are heard throughout. It's obvious that a lot of time went into putting together a fine set-list for this album, and the care and craft put into this disc is quite evident.

The disc starts off with Cedar Walton's "Bolivia," a fantastic tune that doesn't get played nearly as often as it should. The groove laid down on this tune deserves a review all of its own. Jonathan Paul and Bob Rummage really dig in here from the git go, and Caruso's punctuations just take the whole thing up a notch. Of course, it goes without saying that Jim Massoth sounds fantastic here as well. It's a wonderful way to get an album moving.

The most shocking revelation on this disc, though, is their take on Sam Rivers's "Beatrice." It's a beautiful ballad that's been getting some more notice as of late because of beautiful, lilting renditions by Joe Henderson, Chet Baker and others. But Massoth and Caruso actually decide to give the tune some teeth, and the results are excellent. They don't play it all that much faster than I'm used to hearing it, but they play it with a lot more intensity, and the difference is striking. They stretch out on this one quite a bit, and it's certainly a highlight of the disc.

Also on the semi-obscure side, they take cracks at Freddie Hubbard's "Crisis," and Sonny Rollins' "Blue Seven." Both sound great, and they do both songs justice. And considering the sources here, that's no small feat.

As one would expect, these guys are quite adept at playing ballads as well, and they shine on Cole Porter's "Every Time We Say Goodbye." Massoth's tone is simply beautiful, as is Frank Caruso's comping behind him.

There is much great music to be found here, and one listen to Songs from the Kingdom of Jazz should have you convinced right quick to run out and buy a copy.

© Copyright 2008, WDCB
- WDCB Music Director Paul Abella


Available @ CD Baby, Amazon & ITunes



Frank Caruso & Jim Massoth are a part of the Chicago jazz scene like the sky is blue. They are the very definition of Chicago jazzmen.

Individually, they have played every musical role there is to play- student, teacher, mentor, artist, sideman, leader- and every kind of gig, too, from the old-time sawdust joint to the White House and other hallowed halls. They’ve each spent a lifetime mastering the language of jazz. They’ve learned both the vocabulary and the syntax, and over the course of the many thousands of hours spent with axe in hand they’ve become emotionally articulate in a way that sets them apart from the journeymen and places them firmly in the world of musical artistry.

Together, they create something truly unique and powerful, something that goes beyond the bounds of normal musical experience. Listening to Massoth & Caruso play together is like sitting in on a conversation that’s witty, warm, and exuberant. The sparkle in their collaboration reminds us that music speaks to us in a way that conveys meaning beyond words, with deeper feeling and with greater honesty.

So listen as Frank & Jimmy urge each other to greater expressiveness, and you’ll hear great musicianship in service of nothing more than pure artistry and joy. You’ll hear musicians for whom virtuosity is not a destination but a means to communicate at the highest level of creativity. Through this recording they’ve graciously allowed us to be a part of the marvelous conversation we call jazz. It’s an honor- and a pleasure.

-Stuart Rosenberg