Byron Stripling: Byron, Get One Free...
This is the 3rd album for former Lionel Hampton Big Band lead trumpet Bryon Stripling for the Nagel Heyer label. Joined by jazz stalwarts Wycliffe Gordon, Bill Charlap and the ageless, Frank Wess, Stripling focuses more on ballad standards than on his previous releases revealing a soft side to his playing. The blues inflected arrangement of Lover Man, for example, allows him to wax pretty with his full tone. Faster paced material has been forsaken. "Frank's Magic" has a 1940's small group jam session syncopation about it with staccato playing by both Stripling and Gordon's big trombone. In jam session style, Charlap gets some time on solo piano and, of course, Wess on tenor. At 79, that man still doesn't miss a beat or a note and is as powerful as ever. As is his wont, Stripling sings on a couple of tracks doing a slow drag rendition of "Gee Baby, Ain't I Good to You". His ballad vocalizing is not as engaging and is somewhat stilted as on I'm "Old fashioned". But his lyrical trumpet solo on this piece more than makes up for any shortcomings on the singing side. There's a clever coda here by Charlap. You can take the musician out of New Orleans but not New Orleans out of the musician. This style continues to happily dominate Stripling's playing and is nowhere better heard than on the album's kick off tune, "Indiana", featuring some fun muted trumpet by the leader. Typical of a Stripling engagement is the looseness of the ensemble giving the music a nice comfortable feel as on bop anthem "Woody `N' You". Another good album from the trumpet man which is recommended.
Track Listing: Indiana; Con Alma; Gee Baby, Ain't I Good to You*; Frank's Magic; Lover Man; Sometimes I'm Happy; I Can't Give You Anything But Love*; Byron, Get One Free; I'm Old Fashioned*; Woody `N' You
Personnel: Byron Stripling - Trumpet/Vocal*; Wycliffe Gordon - Trombone; Frank Wess - Tenor Sax; Bill Charlap - Piano; Peter Washington - Bass; Ira Coleman - Bass; Dennis Mackrel - Drums