Grooving With Louise

Bruce Von Stiers

Many jazz musicians grab songs to record from the Great American Songbook. These classics never go out of style. But that is not what jazz trumpeter Louise Baranger has done. She has riffed on the classic jazz catalog name and came up with a too cool title for an album. The title of this album is Louise Baranger Plays the Great American Groove Book.

Louise studied trumpet under Uan Rasey, Bobby Shew and William Vacchiano. She was a member of Harry James' band before his death. And she was lead trumpet in the Las Vegas production of Sugar and has performed in several productions on Broadway. As a band leader, Louise has several film and television performances, including the Emmy Awards.

Louise has taken a few of the coolest pop and groove tunes and added her own flair to them with this album. The album has twelve songs and lasts just under an hour. Louise produced the album along with Tim Ouimette. All of the song arrangements on the album were done by Tim. The album was released on the Summit Records label.

Louise had some very talented people helping out on the album. Rick Kriska was on alto sax, Gary Blu was on Bari sax and Steve Moran was on tenor sax for the album. Besides Louise on trumpet, there was Tony Kadleck and Lew Soloff. Tim Ouimette played trumpet on one song. For trombones, there was Kurt Eckhardt and Dale Kirkland. On horn was Shelagh Abate and Andy Rogers played the tuba. Denny McDermott was on drums and Joe Bonadio did the percussion. Jon Cobert played the keys and John Putnam was on guitar. And Lincoln Schliefer was on bass. Kati Mac provided backing vocals.

There were also a few special guests who made an appearance on the album. Don Braden played the flute, alto flute and tenor sax. Marvin Stamm played trumpet. Bill Harris played tenor sax. David Spinozza and Gil Parris played guitar. And Mark Martin was on the beat box.

Louise chose the Marvin Gaye song, Got To Give It Up, to open the album with. What a cool way to not only start out the album, but to showcase Louise's talent on the trumpet. The song has some killer sax in it as well.

Camaro Willy (Tribute to Wilson Pickett) is a toe-tapping, smile effecting piece. Cool trumpet, tough sax and ultra-cool keys make this a fantastic song. Louise wrote this one, along with Tim Ouimette.

Louise next does a really slick rendition of the Quincy Jones classic Soul Bossa Nova.

I've been a Stevie Wonder fan forever. Louise does a killer job with Wonder's song, Higher Ground. Cool guitar backs tough trumpet here.

A subtle groove can be found in the classic tune Soulful Grazing.

Another one that is smile effecting is Louise's rendition of Love Potion No. 9. She does a great job of keeping with the spirit of the song while adding a touch or two of her own.

The Sidewinder is a standard that shows up from time to time on new albums. Louise provides a unique spin to this Lee Morgan classic tune.

Most of the time I hear Ain't No Sunshine done as an aching vocal piece. But on this album, it is treated with a lighter tone. It has some great guitar and flute. The darker moments in the song features strong keys and trumpet.

I have to confess that I mostly knew Take Me To The River because of the Talking Heads version. This Al Green song has been covered a lot since its early 70's debut. Louise takes a hip groove approach to the song that lies somewhere in between Green's original and the one that the Talking Heads did.

Louise does a terrific job with Never Can Say Goodbye. It definitely showcases her great trumpet. And there is some awesome flute in the song as well.

You can almost imagine a film scene, scrolling through the city in the song Inner City Blues. Louise treats this with a little more of an upbeat tempo than the original Marvin Gaye tune.

With You I'm Born Again was a huge hit for Billy Preston and Syreeta in 1979. Louise closes the album with a terrific rendition of the song. The first part of the song keeps the styling of the original. Then it moves into a delicious bit of samba styling, moving back to the framework of the original music and back out to the samba. Not only is the trumpet great in the song, the flute is excellent. Louise even holds to the essence of the original with party crowd vocals at the beginning of the song.

Louise Baranger Plays The Great American Groove Book is a fantastic album. Louise shows her immense talents as a trumpeter on this album. And the people that Louise had helping out were extremely talented as well. I thought the song selection was great and that Tim Ouimette's arrangements were excellent.

Louise Baranger Plays The Great American Groove Book can be found at most major music retailers.

To learn more about Louise Baranger and the album, visit Louise's official web site at


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© 2018 Bruce E Von Stiers