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Jacob Varmus: All the Things We Still Can Be

Dan McClenaghan By

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Some influences are readily apparent on trumpeter Jacob Varmus' debut disc, All the Things We Still Can Be, especially Chet Baker and Miles Davis, circa mid-'50s to mid-'60s. The set opens with a buoyant Varmus original, "Ecstatic Little Porpoises." Varmus' tone is warm and round and a bit soft-tufted, like Baker's, as he blows a bright and engaging melody.

The title tune explores gentle mid-tempo lyicism, while "Untimely Intrusion" slips into darker territory, with an insistent rhythm and an edge, the rhythm sounding a bit like Miles Davis "Side Car II" from Circle in the Round (Columbia, '79), with guitarist Nate Radley adding a George Benson sting to the sound. It's back to Chet Baker territory for the American Songbook classic "Everything Happens to Me," with a floating rhythm and lyrical trumpet; Varmus adds a Chet-like vocal at the end.

Varmus' own original voice surfaces on his "Country Dave Tex Mex," which includes interesting harmonies, a bit of Latin perussion, and the leader blowing with a tart tone. On "What is This Thing We Still Can Be" Varmus plays muted at first, then transitions to open horn, on a workout that recalls Miles' mid-'60s music. The set's bassist, Yoshi Waki, penned the closer, "Perpetual Motion," which features a rubbery groove behind some of Varmus' prettiest blowing, along with some beautiful French horn/trumpet harmony.

An engaging debut from trumpeter Jacob Varmus.

Track Listing: Ecstatic Little Porpoises; All The Things We Still Can Be; Untimely Instrusion; Everything Happens To Me; Country Dave Tex Mex; What Is This Thing We Still Can Be?; Why Don't You Dance?; Perpetual Motion.

Personnel: Jacob Varmus: trumpet, cornet, vocal; Nate Radley: guitar (1,2,3,5,7,8); Toru Dodo: piano; Yoshi Waki: bass; Brian Woodruff: drums; Chris Komer: French Horn (8).

Title: All The Things We Still Can Be | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Self Produced

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