Eight beauteous songs lovingly embraced by veteran San Francisco Bay area trumpeter Peter Welker with help from a number of his friends. If Welker’s name weren’t above the marquee one would be hard–pressed to identify him as the foreman; everyone on this assembly line makes an essential contribution, Welker no more than anyone else. Trumpeter Herb Pomeroy, once Welker’s teacher at Boston’s Berklee College of Music, flew to the West Coast to sit in on three numbers, and solos effectively on each of them (“Gee Baby, Ain’t I Good to You,” Strayhorn’s “A Flower Is a Lovesome Thing,” “It’s You or No One”). Making a strong impression on four tracks is Fred Lipsius, a founding member and co–leader of Blood, Sweat & Tears. The versatile Lipsius duets on piano with Welker (trumpet) on the first of two versions of “We’ll Be Together Again,” and on alto (with Welker on piano) on the second, which closes the album. Lipsius also plays alto on “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore” and John Coltrane’s “Moment’s Notice,” while trombone master Bill Watrous is typically fleet–footed and expressive on Joe Henderson’s “Recorda Me.” Group sizes vary from duo to 10–piece band (“Gee Baby,” “Flower”) with such Bay area standouts as alto saxophonist Jim Rothermel, tenor Bennett Friedman, trombonist René Jenkins, guitarist Randy Vincent, pianist Mark Levine, bassist Mel Graves and drummers George Marsh and Steve Smith among the sidemen. Rothermel’s most impressive solo, it should be noted, is on clarinet (“Gee Baby”). As all of the songs, we are told in the notes, were completed in a single take, with everyone playing at the same time (one never knows nowadays), it’s a definite plus that so many of these gentlemen are on a first–name basis. The modus operandi lends the date the sort of jam session flavor that’s not often present on a studio recording. Welker handled the arrangements, and they’re consistently bright and tasteful. The same can be said of the session as a whole — well–designed, competently played and assuredly worth checking out.
Track listing: We’ll Be Together Again; Gee Baby Ain’t I Good to You; Recorda Me; A Flower Is a Lovesome Thing; Don’t Get Around Much Anymore; Moment’s Notice; Peace; It’s You or No One; We’ll Be Together Again (58:41).
Collective personnel: Peter Welker, trumpet, flugelhorn, piano; Michael Whitwell, Herb Pomeroy, trumpet; Jim Rothermel, alto sax, clarinet; Bennett Friedman, tenor sax; Doug Delaney, baritone sax; René Jenkins, trombone; Randy Vincent, guitar; Fred Lipsius, alto sax, piano; Mark Levine, piano; Mel Graves, bass; George Marsh, Tom Hayashi, Steve Smith, drums.
Contact: Brownstone Records, P.O. Box 60163, Worcester, MA 01606 (phone 508–853–9431; e–mail firstname.lastname@example.org; Web site, www.brownstonerecordings.com).