Walter White: BB XL

Chris M. Slawecki By

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Walter White: BB XL
Born in a musical family near Detroit and classically trained at Juilliard, trumpet and flugelhorn player Walter White keeps a hectic schedule as leader of Atlantic Bridge, the Walter White Jazz Quartet, Walter White & Small Medium @ Large, and of the fusion ensemble IFUNU; as a member of the Beige Trio; and as lead trumpet for the Manhattan Jazz Orchestra directed by David Matthews. White has also served as Virtual Guest Artist-In-Residence for the Rutgers University Jazz Program directed by Conrad Herwig and has previously worked with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis, the Woody Herman Orchestra and the Mingus Big Band.

A stellar collection of covers, originals and crackerjack musicians, BB XL provides extra-large helpings of White's horns in a big jazz sound, and he takes advantage of every opportunity to blow out his chops. It opens with a journey across "Atlantic Bridge" that seems to rise "Up, Up and Away" with a lovely floating feeling; piano and winds twirl in counterpoint to the luxuriantly bright, glowing brass, and the band tosses the melody across different sections of the band like a celebratory toast.

White strings classic jazz and ballad covers together on BB XL like gorgeous pearls. His trumpet tap-dances as soft-but sure-footed as Fred Astaire on the melody to "The Way You Look Tonight," arranged as a jazz samba, and then sings out "My Foolish Heart" like a soul balladeer, two quick snapshots of this set's keen, bright and accessible sound.

White builds most of the rest of BB XL upon three enduring pillars of the jazz canon. This relaxed arrangement of "Cantaloupe Island" (Herbie Hancock) lets it drift off into a samba (or mambo), but spreads the call and response across different sections of the band to make sure it keeps moving.

Then the XL BB burns like fire through "Blue Rondo a la Turk" (Dave Brubeck) and "Nica's Dream" (Horace Silver). This arrangement of "Blue Rondo" was commissioned for the Detroit Jazz Festival's Tribute to Brubeck and was released to celebrate the one hundredth anniversary of the pianist's birth (December 6, 1920). White's trumpet skyrockets up and over "Nica's Dream" to pierce the sound of this eight-minute arrangement (originally written for Maynard Ferguson, with whom White performed and recorded in the early 1990s) with flaming arrows of high and hot notes. You simply must hear White's high register notes searing through both these tunes for yourself, to understand how magnificently accomplished, powerful and stratospheric his trumpet sounds.

Track Listing

Atlantic Bridge; Blue Rondo a la Turk; Cantaloupe Island; Nica's Dream; Portus Apostoli (Intro); Portus Apostoli; The Way You Look Tonight; My Foolish Heart; Yo Conecto.


Walter White: trumpet; Alex Foster: saxophone; Ron Blake: saxophone; Steve Kenyon: saxophone.

Additional Instrumentation

Tristan Capell: saxophone; Donell Snyder: tenor sax; baritone sax, soprano sax, alto sax; Keith Kaminski: alto sax, baritone sax, tenor sax; Conrad Herwig: trombone; Dave Mosko: trombone; Adam Machaskee: trombone; David Taylor: trombone; Altin Sencalar: trombone; Chris Glassman: trombone; Rob Killips: trombone; Don Anderson: tuba; Walter White: trumpets; Wayne Bergeron: trumpet; Ken Robinson: trumpet; Gary Schunk: piano; Ruben Rodriguez: bass; Jack Dryden: bass; James Simonson: bass; Jeff Trudell: drums; Graham Hawthorne: drums; Oscar Cruz: congas; Pablo Batista: percussion.

Album information

Title: BB XL | Year Released: 2020 | Record Label: Self Produced

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