539

Kelly Rossum: Family

Jeff Dayton-Johnson By

Sign in to view read count
Kelly Rossum: Family Minneapolis trumpeter Kelly Rossum's previous release, the excellent Line (612 Sides, 2007) was in some ways as abstract and linear as its title. Family, fittingly, is as comforting and warm as its predecessor was austere—but also, appropriately, slightly bittersweet and elegiac.

Partly, the difference is due to the presence of pianist Bryan Nichols. Line is a piano-less disc in the grand tradition of 1960s New Thing ensembles like Archie Shepp's. Here, Nichols adds warmth in the chords and accents he finds to occupy spaces left wide open on the earlier record. The redoubtable Bates brothers once again fill out the rhythm section.

What both records share is generous portions of Rossum's deceptively irreverent trumpet playing. Squarely in the lineage of jester Lester Bowie, Rossum's trumpet style reaches back past bop and post-bop masters of the instrument to find common cause with the raucous inaugural generation of the instrument (e.g., Roy Eldridge). A case in point: the deliberately antediluvian "Mr. Blueberry" features flippantly virtuoso turns with both plunger and Harmon mutes. Indeed, Rossum, for all his glib flourishes, carefully embraces a large swath of the instrument's history.

"Family," for many listeners, will mean the presence of children; in that vein, "Pure Imagination," from the Willy Wonka songbook, is appropriately guileless. In principle, it's akin to Miles Davis's "Someday My Prince Will Come," from the Disney repertoire, but in practice it sounds more like Bowie's "Howdy Doody Time" (from The Great Pretender, ECM, 1982).

Speaking of Davis, Rossum and company cheekily cover "If I Were A Bell," made exceedingly famous by Miles's classic 1950s combo, but not frequently reprised. Why else include it here but to underscore, boldly, the contrast between the two trumpeters' styles? To his credit, Rossum acquits himself ably in this comparative light. Having distinguished himself from Miles's shadow, Rossum comfortably plays a mid-tempo blues with a mute on the following cut ("After the Show"), just as Miles himself might have done.

With the exception of the athletic but cool "A Word From Our Sponsors," all the selections here are quite approachable, and indeed beckoning. "Somebody Come and Play" even manages to quote both Bobby Hebb's "Sunny" and the Sesame Street theme. But this welcoming groove is never cloying: Rossum and pianist Nichols, in particular, dependably push at the boundaries of "inside" playing.

Family is consistently strong, with an emotional and thematic coherence suggested by, though not rigidly constrained by, the concept embodied in its title. It is possible that Rossum would make a much greater splash if he were to leave Minneapolis for New York. Then again, such a move might radically change the tenor of his work. If so, we can be glad he has stayed put.

Track Listing: Family; This is where my head is at; Mr. Blueberry; Pure Imagination: A Word From Our Sponsors; Somebody Come and Play; Interlude; If I Were A Bell; After the Snow; Family Reprise.

Personnel: Kelly Rossum: trumpet; Bryan Nichols: piano; Chris Bates: bass; JT Bates: drums.

Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: 612 Sides | Style: Modern Jazz


Related Video

Shop

More Articles

Read Cross My Palm With Silver CD/LP/Track Review Cross My Palm With Silver
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 28, 2017
Read One Minute Later CD/LP/Track Review One Minute Later
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 28, 2017
Read JK's Kamer +50.92509° +03.84800° CD/LP/Track Review JK's Kamer +50.92509° +03.84800°
by Mark Sullivan
Published: April 28, 2017
Read Ephimeral CD/LP/Track Review Ephimeral
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 28, 2017
Read Fly or Die CD/LP/Track Review Fly or Die
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 28, 2017
Read Speechless CD/LP/Track Review Speechless
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 27, 2017
Read "Over the Rainbow" CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read "Natural Perception" CD/LP/Track Review Natural Perception
by Edward Blanco
Published: September 5, 2016
Read "On Hollywood Boulevard" CD/LP/Track Review On Hollywood Boulevard
by Budd Kopman
Published: February 19, 2017
Read "Mata Hati" CD/LP/Track Review Mata Hati
by Dave Wayne
Published: March 10, 2017
Read "Cuong Vu Trio Meets Pat Metheny" CD/LP/Track Review Cuong Vu Trio Meets Pat Metheny
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 5, 2016
Read "Come Together" CD/LP/Track Review Come Together
by James Nadal
Published: May 27, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM RECORDS | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!