by Ferell Aubre
Anthony Caceres has been a fixture of the Houston, TX scene for several years now. A solid advocate for the traditional idiom of jazz and a first call bassist in the scene. The 2019 release of Something’s Gotta Give, marks his third project as a leader. On this album, Caceres takes on the vocal role, along with creating a solid foundation as the bassist. The ensemble is rounded out in a trio/quartet format and features pianist Stefan Karlsson, drummer Jeff Hamilton, and on select cuts, guitarist David Mooney. While Caceres is the first bassist in his family, one could trace Anthony’s musical beginnings to his genes. His grandfather, violinist Emilio Caceres, played both swing and Latin music starting in the 1930s including with Jack Teagarden and Harry James while his grand uncle, Ernie Caceres, was one of the first great baritone-saxophonists, working with Eddie Condon, Jack Teagarden and the original Glenn Miller Orchestra. While the Caceres Brothers performed in San Antonio into the 1960s, unfortunately Ernie passed away before Anthony was born and Emilio had retired by then.
Opening with a swinging rendition of the title track “Somethings Gotta Give,” Caceres leaves no doubt that this is going to be a hard-swinging fun ride. Guitarist Mooney adds the perfect lead, paired with Caceres’ voice, his swing is deep, and his lines are musical and never get in the way of the music. Caceres’ time is rock steady as he plays and sings, he delivers the melody with style and authentic flair. Hamilton’s swing combined with Caceres’ pulse adds up to a wonderful feel. Mooney’s solo has it all, good feel, warm acoustic box tone and lines that are steeped in the jazz guitar tradition. Karlsson’s solo is just as good, keeping the swing energetic and moving. Great band!
Caceres shows that he is not just a bassist and vocalist, but a fine composer too with “A Fathers Love for Ant.” The original is set to straight eights and has a rich influence of the standard repertoire in it. Played in an instrumental quartet setting, the warm and inviting track, offers tenderness and prodigious playing. The harmonic progression is inventive and both Caceres and Karlsson explore the harmony. Mooney provides very effective volume swells of chords that add a nice textural element. Propelling it all is Hamilton’s fine brush work on the kit.
This is a swinging date in all respects, whether you are a vocal fan or instrumental fan, Something’s Gotta Give has something to offer. Each musician brings a strength to the overall core sound. This is traditionally based jazz with a refinement of stylistic finesse. The combination of standards and originals give the offering a nice balance of familiar and new, making for an engaging listen.