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.
I met Erroll Garner at The Theatrical Grill in Cleveland a few hours before our family was to see him on stage at Severance Hall. That was 45 years ago and I was only 15! I spotted him nearby in a booth wearing a beautiful tux with a great white napkin draped over him! I was a little nervous as I approached him (he was eating shrimp cocktail) and said, Mr
I met Erroll Garner at The Theatrical Grill in Cleveland a few hours before our family was to see him on stage at Severance Hall. That was 45 years ago and I was only 15! I spotted him nearby in a booth wearing a beautiful tux with a great white napkin draped over him! I was a little nervous as I approached him (he was eating shrimp cocktail) and said, Mr. Garner, I love playing the piano... is there any advice you could give me?'' He hesitated, then looked back at me and said, Keep playin' and don't stop!'' That was great advice because at 60 years old, I'm still playin' and haven't stopped!