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Ray Vega / Thomas Marriott: East-West Trumpet Summit

John Barron By

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East-West Trumpet Summit is a rollicking showcase for longtime friends Ray Vega and Thomas Marriott. Vega, a New York native and the elder of the two, has served for many years as a mentor to Seattle's Marriott. The two first met when Marriott was a student at the University of Washington in Seattle, and Vega was in town touring with the late Tito Puente. Friends ever since, the two trumpeters share an affinity for hard-blowing, grounded-in-bebop jazz. New York pianist Travis Shook and the Seattle rhythm team of bassist Jeff Johnson and drummer Matt Jorgensen round out this exceptional set of standards and original compositions.

A whirling rendition of "It's You or No One," featuring solo turns by the entire cast, gets the disc off to a feverish start. A faithful-to-the-original take on Horace Silver's medium bouncer "Juicy Lucy" swings along nicely, with Vega paying homage to the spirit of Blue Mitchell. Two Marriott originals follow: the rocket-propelled "Pelham Gardens," delivering an inspired back and forth between the two leaders; and "Bishop Island," a free-flowing waltz with a matter-of-fact melody and lyrical turn by Johnson.

Vega contributes as a composer as well, with two strong pieces. The pensive "Only of a Season" and the energetic modal workout "It's a New York Thing" are both disc highlights, the latter a vehicle for frenetic displays from Shook and Jorgensen. Following a straightforward ballad medley of "Round Midnight" and "In a Sentimental Mood," featuring Vega and Marriott respectively, the disc winds down with "Big Brother," Marriott's Latin-tinged tribute to Vega.

With evident camaraderie, East-West Trumpet Summit is a joyful celebration of friendship and music from two heavyweights of jazz trumpet.

Track Listing: It's You or No One; Juicy Lucy; Pelham Gardens; Bishop Island; Only of a Season; It's a New York Thing; Round Midnight/In a Sentimental Mood; Big Brother.

Personnel: Ray Vega: trumpet; Thomas Marriott: trumpet; Travis Shook: piano; Jeff Johnson: bass; Matt Jorgensen: drums.

Title: East-West Trumpet Summit | Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Origin Records

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