The “invisible man” returns. Trumpeter Marvin Stamm, who played with big bands led by Woody Herman, Stan Kenton and Thad Jones / Mel Lewis, among others, before vanishing in the early ’70s into the wilderness of studio work in New York City, is playing Jazz again — has been for some time now — and that is good news indeed for those of us who appreciate the sort of “elegance” he invariably espouses. Indeed, there’s no more appropriate word than elegant to describe this quartet date on which Stamm and his world–class rhythm section traverse two of his sunny compositions, two more by pianist Stefan Karlsson, one each by Dennis Dotson and Lars Jansson, and a trio of delightful standards from the Great American Songbook. Stamm reminds me of a number of trumpeters who always come to play but seldom rank high in the “popularity polls,” solid workmen like Bobby Shew, Carl Saunders, Chuck Findley, Don Rader, Jeff Jarvis, Greg Gisbert and (overseas) Bert Joris, Peter Asplund, Ack van Rooyen and Jan Wessels. Like them, he may be uncelebrated but has marvelous chops and gets the job done. Stamm’s also generous and confident enough to give everyone ample room to blow, and in fact solos first only on Karlsson’s “Illusions” and Dotson’s “Close to Home.” For added variety, Stamm plays flugel on “Home,” Karlsson’s “Smilin’” curtain–raiser and Jansson’s “The Tree,” muted trumpet on the introduction to the Gershwins’ “But Not for Me.” And although several listenings have led to no definitive conclusion, the impression here is that two trumpets may have been overdubbed to state the melody on the first of his originals, “A Lick or Two.” The underrated Karlsson comps with his usual aplomb and makes the most of every chance to solo while Warrington and drummer Eliot Zigmund keep the rhythmic compass vibrant and steady. And speaking of steady, that’s another well–chosen word with which to sum up this consistently admirable session.
Contact: TNC Jazz, 1350 E. Flamingo Road, Las Vegas, NV 89119. Phone 702–457–3823; fax 702–457–0199. Web site, www.tncmusic.net; e–mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Personnel: Marvin Stamm, trumpet, flugelhorn; Stefan Karlsson, piano; Tom Warrington, bass; Eliot Zigmund, drums.