Bob Lark: Until You (2003)
Until You is the second album from Chicago trumpeter/flugelhornist Bob Lark, who also serves as the Jazz Chair at Chicago's DePaul University, where he directs the school's Jazz Ensemble and teaches trumpet and courses in jazz pedagogy and jazz style. Lark poses on the inside cover in a very Chet Baker-ish photo with his flugelhorn.
Lark displays a very pure and undiluted tone and performs here on flugelhorn on all but the final two selections. There is a nice mix of two originals, two standards and three jazz standards. Lark opens the album with original compostitions: the title tune, a punchy up-tempo piece with a solo by bassist Kelly Sill, and "A Narrow Path," which allows him to unhurriedly present his solid delivery on the ballad's melody line and solo supported by the very capable Jim McNeely on piano. The pace picks up with Thad Jones' funky "Walkin' About," which likely served the Jones-Lewis band's live appearances. Lark's flugelhorn does more than justice to the Jule Styne/Sammy Cahn ballad "The Things We Did Last Summer," once a jazz favorite but now rarely heard.
Bob Lark must have an affinity for the music of Monk, evidenced by two of the pianist's compositions: "Rhythm-A-Ning," the most up-tempo piece on the album, and a solo muted trumpet take on "'Round Midnight." Still in the Miles-Monk 1950s period, Lark chooses the Miles Davis first quintet's reading of "Bye Bye Blackbird." McNeely plays a blockchorded piano intro, setting up Lark's muted trumpet entry. Parenthetically, Lark also did a Monk tune, "Evidence," on his first recording.
Track Listing: Until You; A Narrow Path; Walkin' About; The Things We Did Last Sommer; Rhythm-A-Ning; Bye Bye Blackbird; 'Round Midnight.
Personnel: Bob Lark: flugelhorn, trumpet; Jim McNeely: piano; Kelly Sill: bass; Joel Spencer: drums.