How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
The word on Los Angeles trumpet ace Carl Saunders: he can play can play "anything". His trumpet style is inspired by equal measures of Miles (relaxed, economical, no vibrato) and Dizzy (lean, hungry, and piercing). He is at ease in all registers. His high notes are dead center, not just special-effects squeaks. Diversity is the key to this CD, each cut presenting a different side of Saunders' musicianship.
Bob Florence's flagwaver "Fascinatin' Rhythm" kicks it off with Saunders all over the horn. A futuristic "Surrey with the Fringe on Top," arranged by Holman, is built on a pedal point. Saunders is multitracked, riffing behind his own and Childs' solos. Clare Fischer's haunting string arrangement on "Last Night When We Were Young" derives in part from his memorable "Cal Tjader plays Harold Arlen" session of the early 60's. Saunders sticks close to the melody throughout. Near the end he tongues his way through a couple of passages in the best Clifford Brown tradition. A medium-up "Old Folks," arranged by Lano, surges over a Cuban rhythm with Saunders on top all the way. Four trumpets are overdubbed on "Blues for the Common Man." The piece has an old-time feel, but Billy Childs brings it into the present with his piano solo.
Track Listing: Fascinatin' Rhythm' / Reaching for You / Valtz Opus 64 #2 / First Gift / Surrey with the Fringe on Top / Las Night When We Were Young / The Price of Admission / Pentiction / Night Reverie / Old Folks / Blues for the Common Man
Personnel: Carl Saunders - trumpet, flugelhorn; Billy Childs - piano; Bob Magnusson - bass; Santo Savino - drums; Larry Dominello, Clare Fischer, Bob Florence, Bill Holman, Joe Lano, Carl Saunders, Jackson Stock, Scott Tibbs - arrangers; strings & French horns on most cuts, Assa Drori - concertmaster.