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Speaking of talent deserving wider recognition, here comes Greg Bobulinski (did I hear you say “Greg who”?) with a wonderful album of mostly standards which shows beyond a doubt that he’s a trumpeter to be reckoned with. Bobulinski seems to have all the equipment necessary for success — superior technique, gorgeous tone (on trumpet or flugel), a well–stocked reservoir of cogent ideas — everything, that is, except name recognition. One clings to the hope that discs such as this one (released three years ago) could help remedy the situation, but the music business being what it is, the hope is a weak one at best, especially as three years have passed and in the public’s mind he’s still “Greg who?” For comparison’s sake only, Bobulinski reminds me on flugel of Randy Sandke (with a dash of Chet Baker), on trumpet of Blue Mitchell, Joe Wilder or perhaps Carmell Jones. On East of the Sun he uses a number of groups to press home his musical purpose, the most successful of which (my opinion, of course) are the trio settings with guitarist Daniel Weiss and bassist Tom Kirchner (“If I Should Lose You,” “I’ve Never Been in Love Before,” “East of the Sun,” “Like Someone in Love”). Drummer Ed Balsamo joins the trio on “I Should Care.” Bobulinski and pianist Bross Townsend (“Just Friends,” “In a Sentimental Mood,” “Poor Butterfly”) don’t seem to harmonize quite as readily, owing in part at least to Townsend’s tendency to overplay his part. Kirchner, tenor Bobby Marx and drummers Balsamo and James Guarnieri make it a quintet on Thad Jones’ ballad “A Child Is Born” and the folk tune “Wabash.” Bobulinski plays trumpet on “Wabash” and “Poor Butterfly,” trumpet and flugel on “Sentimental Mood,” flugel the rest of the way. Each of Bobulinski’s solos is convincing, and Weiss earns high marks as well. The music, chiefly from the Great American Songbook, is timeless, and the mood is generally loose and easygoing. No, the album won’t make Bobulinski’s name a household word, but it’s definitely worth hearing.
Track listing: If I Should Lose You; Just Friends; I’ve Never Been in Love Before; A Child Is Born; In a Sentimental Mood; East of the Sun; Wabash; Poor Butterfly; Like Someone in Love; I Should Care (68:50).
Greg Bobulinski, trumpet, flugelhorn; Bobby Marx, tenor sax; Bross Townsend, piano; Daniel A. Weiss, guitar; Tom Kirchner, bass; Ed Balsamo, James Guarnieri, drums.
Contact: Cats Paw Records, 416 Wilson Blvd., Mineola, NY 11501.