Charlie Porter: Charlie Porter

Nicholas F. Mondello By

Sign in to view read count
Charlie Porter: Charlie Porter
Charlie Porter is an album that is musically and structurally reminiscent of those iconic M.C. Escher prints: dizzying ziggurats, waterfalls to some/nowhere and eye-teasing figure-ground images. Porter, with the able assistance of his local colleagues -all ace musicians -has created an intriguing, intelligent recording that simmers and boils over with ingenious original compositions, stellar musicianship, and a marvelous sense of puck.

"Prologue" has Porter's unaccompanied trumpet bellowing a five-note Miklos Rosza-like fanfare before he bursts into a fierce display of precision playing. Symmetries prevail on this superior session as each of the subsequent tracks adds another musician. After the apogee, "A Lover Scorned," the pattern reverses with the album closing with Porter's solo trumpet book-ending with the original fanfare plus. This production effect is slick but no gimmick.

"Mel Smiles" is an upbeat rhythmic duel-to-the-death with drummer, Mel Brown and his swashbuckling brush and set work. The duo is fascinatingly inventive. Porter's improvisational rhythmic vocabulary is a jazzman's Webster's throughout. "Rondo for Sticky" is a Cajun-flavored strutter with Porter testifying over Brown's drive and Lakey's bass-boom below.

Porter, a Juilliard grad and Paris Conservatoire attendee, is a technical phenom. The guy has a gorgeous sound, complete command of his horn, and vast creative juices to fuel that vehicle. While creatively his own man, he is obviously heavily influenced by Wynton Marsalis, offering smears, rips, wails, and biting stacattissimos which add to his technical and improvisational brilliance.

"New Beginnings" is a triple-metered Vince Guaraldi-shaded head which breaks into a speedy game of tag with tempos and meters alternating. Pianist, Jon "Sticky" Lakey and Porter burn on their solos. "A Love Scorned" is a darker devil's spawn of "Nica's Dream" (complete with tag from same). It is a highlight track on an album of many. Sax man, John Nastos' gives a third-degree solo. "Brown Study" re-ignites the original fanfare motif and launches into a slow misterioso expansion with Charles Mingus overtones via ensemble horns blaring and Porter and trombonist Moak and Nastos taking off dramatically. "Skain Train" is a down-home stomp, with Porter a snake-dancing dervish on the lead. And add a neat Majid Khaliq fiddle solo. Duke Ellington's "Morning Glory" is a jaunty stroll wherein Porter cops Pops. "Epilogue" has Porter's harmonized trumpet running pentatonic ribbons before the original motif reappears and calls Siren seductively.

Charlie Porter the album is a terrific exposition of creative compositions, instrumental brilliance and all-around superior playing. It certainly deserves a kingly "Porter's Stamp" of approval.

Track Listing

Prologue; Mel Smiles; Rondo for Sticky; New Beginnings; A Lover Scorned; Brown Study; Messenger; Skain Train; Morning Glory; Anthem; Epilogue.


Charlie Porter: trumpet; John Nastos: alto and soprano saxophones; David Evans: tenor saxophone; John Moak: trombone; Majid Khaliq: violin; Christopher Woitach: guitar; David Goldblatt: piano; Greg Goebel: piano; George Colligan: piano; Dan Gaynor: piano; Tim Gilson: bass; Cary Miga: bass; Jon Lakey: bass; Chuck Israels: bass; Bill Athens: bass; Alan Jones: drums; Michael Raynor: drums; Christopher Brown: drums; Mel Brown: drums; Tim Rap: drums.

Album information

Title: Charlie Porter | Year Released: 2018 | Record Label: PHP

Post a comment about this album



Shop Amazon


Read The Lockdown Blues
The Lockdown Blues
Professor Cunningham and His Old School
Read Symbiosis
Jeff Coffin / Derek Brown
Read Garden of Expression
Garden of Expression
Joe Lovano, Marilyn Crispell, Carmen Castaldi
Read Rain Painting
Rain Painting
John Stowell & Dan Dean
Read Beyond
Futari (Satoko Fujii / Taiko Saito)

All About Jazz needs your support

All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, shelter in place and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary effort that will help musicians now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the bottom right video ad). Thank you.

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.