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Although only the most well–informed Jazz fans have probably even heard of Greg Bobulinski, he’s a seasoned mainstream trumpeter with excellent command of his horn and plenty of interesting things to say. After graduating from North Texas State University (now the University of North Texas) he joined the Red Garland Quintet, later played with the Clark Terry big band, Dizzy Gillespie, Carmen McRae, George Coleman, Jimmy Heath, Marian McPartland, Curtis Fuller, Al Grey, Duke Jordan, Sir Roland Hanna, Thad Jones, Jim Hall and Frank Wess, among others, and has been featured at the JVC, Newport, Czech and North Sea Jazz Festivals. On Hibiscus Flowre, his second date as leader for Cats Paw Records, Bobulinski blends three of his own compositions with standards by Walter Donaldson (“Little White Lies”) and Rodgers and Hart (“It Never Entered My Mind”) and Jazz works by Johnny Griffin (“Leave Me Alone Blues”), Frank Foster (“Simone”), Jerome Richardson (“Groove Merchant”) and Billy Strayhorn (“Lush Life”). While he plays a “modern” trumpet, Bobulinski has a big fat tone reminiscent of Al Hirt, and there’s always a hint of old New Orleans lurking behind his more contemporary point of view. The title selection is subtitled “Duqueovelle” and pronounced “Duke–of–Ell,” which should make clear the name of its dedicatee. No doubt, either, for whom “Bird Trane Bird” was named (the theme combines several of their familiar tunes). Bobulinski’s other compositions, both up-tempo, are “Porkchop” and “Jumpin’ at Don’s Pad.” These swingers are pleasing, but even more so are Bobulinski’s warmhearted approach (on flugel) to the ballads — “Lush Life,” “It Never Entered My Mind” and “Hibiscus Flowre” — and his muted outing on “Little White Lies.” Bobulinski’s rhythm section is a hard–working unit that supports him well but is otherwise unremarkable. Bobulinski may be anonymous, but he’s worth hearing.
Track listing: Leave Me Alone Blues; Hibiscus Flowre: Duqueovelle; Little White Lies; Porkchop; Simone; The Groove Merchant; Bird Trane Bird; Lush Life; Jumpin’ at Don’s Pad; It Never Entered My Mind (62:43).
Greg Bobulinski, trumpet, flugelhorn; Bross Townsend, piano; Tom Kirchner, bass; Ed Balsamo, drums.
Contact: Cats Paw Records, 416 Wilson Blvd., Mineola, NY 11501.
As a kid, my mom told me I'd like jazz. I thought she was nuts. Then I went to hear Cannonball Adderley (with Nat Adderley, George Duke, Walter Booker, Roy McCurdy and Airto) and everything changed. Yeah, mom knows best.