by Rudy Palma
Something’s Gotta Give marks the third project for Anthony Caceres as a leader. Joined by a top-shelf ensemble of, Stefan Karlsson on piano, Davy Mooney on guitar and the indelible Jeff Hamilton on drums and of course Caceres himself on bass and voice. Each player brings to the table their own sense of prowess that injects an authenticity.
Caceres has an interesting background. After serving in the Navy for four years, he studied music at San Antonio Community College and the University of North Texas. Though getting a late start, this did not slow down Caceres’s drive and desire to excel. As a freelance bassist, he toured with the off-Broadway musical production of Miss Saigon and performed with the Four Aces, The Glenn Miller Orchestra, trumpeter Marvin Stamm, pianist Bill Mays, altoist Greg Abate, Grammy Award composer and pianist Jeff Franzel, trombonist Conrad Herwig, Jazz Vocalist Rosanna Vitro, Sebastian Whittaker & The Creators, Freddie Jones Jazz Group, The Pamela York Trio, Drummer Jeff Hamilton, and the late great trombonists Carl Fontana & Bill Watrous among others.
The album kicks off with the title track “Something’s Gotta Give,” a charming Johnny Mercer tune that is aplomb with swing. Caceres has an unaffected vocal style that is firmly in the pocket. His bass playing has an equally deep pocket as he locks tightly with the swing master Hamilton. Mooney is inspiring on this track, his clean and clear notes glide through the solo section with eloquence and gracefulness and a soulful sense of melody. Karlsson ornaments with abiding command. The track hums along with a wealth of swing and panache.
An original on the album “A Father’s Love For Ant,” is actually the only instrumental on the recording inspired by his son Anthony, it’s a gorgeous ballad. Caceres explains, “When he was younger and I practiced many of my songs, he often cried, but one time I was playing triads on the piano and it made him laugh. It was the funniest thing. I started making up this melody, it calmed him down and then, when I played the triad at the end, it caused him to laugh again.” The tune is deeply touching and heartfelt, filled with calming tones and a gentleness that soothes. This song truly highlights Caceres softer side, his bass playing is resonating and resolute as he elongates his notes with sheer beauty and finesse.
Something’s Gotta Give is a balanced program of well-known standards and the not so covered classic jazz tunes, including a Caceres original for good measure. One thing that struck me about the recording is the manner in which it was recorded. Caceres’ voice is recorded in a completely dry fashion. It offers an intimate listen with each inflection in full view, giving it a divinely beautiful human factor. In a world of so much over processing, the instruments and vocals are plainly recorded, lending a retro feeling of nostalgia to the recording and the enjoyment of its simple beauty and sheer delight.