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On Jacob Varmus' debut recording he proves to be an exciting trumpeter, composer and bandleader. Hailing from San Francisco by way of the University of Iowa, Varmus originally planned to be a poet but was also drawn to the music of jazz trumpeters, of whom Chet Baker and Woody Shaw were early favorites. He has worked with local guitarist/bandleader Steve Grismore, gigged with Tom Harrell and studied with Iowa trumpeter Paul Smoker. Varmus placed first in the International Trumpet Guild's 1995 jazz competition in Iowa.
All The Things We Still Can Be is a showcase for Varmus' original tunes, plus the Adair/Dennis piece "Everything Happens To Me." This may or may not be a nod towards Chet Baker, especially when Varmus adds a vocal to this track. The playing by his group is mainstream bebop, with the leader's warm trumpet leading the way. On the opening selections, Toru Dodo's piano playing is hardly heard since guitarist Nate Radley provides the comping as well as some well-defined single-string solos, notably on "All The Things We Still Can Be" and "Untimely Intrusion." On "What Is This Thing We Still Can Be?" Varmus and the group cook, with the trumpeter's round tone featured prominently.
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).
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.