118

The Stamm/Soph Project: Live at Birdland

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
The Stamm/Soph Project: Live at Birdland Studio recordings are nice, but if you want to know how jazz musicians really work together, place them in front of an audience. For the Marvin Stamm/Ed Soph Quartet, that's no problem. This is a working unit comprised of gentlemen who not only play together regularly but are temperamentally and musically compatible, to boot. In other words, the level of rapport and mutual respect is unusually high, even when the group welcomes a guest artist, as it does guitarist John Abercrombie on four of the eight selections on Live at Birdland.

Stamm describes the quartet as a co-op, which means that everyone not only has a voice in choosing the music but is an indispensable member of the team, collectively and individually. Everyone works together, everyone is given plenty of space to improvise, and, most important, everyone does so quite well. Stamm, a widely underrated trumpeter, is invariably reliable throughout, and he's especially persuasive (as is pianist Bill Mays) on bassist Rufus Reid's spirited bossa "When She Smiles Upon Your Face (I'd have led with that one).

"Smiles is one of two engaging songs by Reid; the other, "The Meddler, is a funky blues that closes the set on an amiable note. The all-original program includes two numbers each by Stamm ("Samba du Nancy, "Two as One ) and Mays ("In Her Arms, "Gemma's Eyes ), Ted Nash's "Waltz for Mia and the easygoing curtain-raiser, "Svensson, written by the great Swedish composer/pianist Lars Jansson. Mays' unaccompanied piano launches "Svensson, while Soph has a two-minute rendezvous with the coquettish "Nancy before the others take their turn.

Abercrombie makes it a quintet on the ballad "In Her Arms and happy "Waltz for Mia, showing his splendid chops on extended solos, as he does on "Gemma's Eyes and "The Meddler. "Two as One is another ballad (with tasteful extemporizing by Stamm, on flugel, Mays and Reid), and even though "When She Smiles sounds like it should be from the title, it's not. The mood is Latin, the melody irresistible, the tempo upbeat, the input by all hands exemplary. "Gemma's Eyes is a medium-tempo charmer whose introductory passage is vaguely reminiscent of the standard "I Can Dream, Can't I? Again, Stamm is quite impressive on flugel.

A charming and colorful concert date with first-rate sound, even though it's weighted slightly toward the rhythm section, especially pianist Mays. While Stamm and Co. aren't known as superstars, there's not much to separate them from those who are. In other words, they play pretty good. But don't take my word for it—listen with your own ears.


Track Listing: Svensson; Samba du Nancy; In Her Arms; Waltz for Mia; Two as One; When She Smiles Upon Your Face; Gemma

Personnel: Marvin Stamm, trumpet, flugelhorn; Ed Soph, drums; Bill Mays, piano; Rufus Reid, bass; John Abercrombie (3, 4, 7, 8), guitar.

Title: Live at Birdland | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Jazzed Media


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read The Better Angels of Our Nature CD/LP/Track Review The Better Angels of Our Nature
by Karl Ackermann
Published: July 20, 2017
Read What Brought You Here? CD/LP/Track Review What Brought You Here?
by Troy Dostert
Published: July 20, 2017
Read My Head Is Listening CD/LP/Track Review My Head Is Listening
by John Sharpe
Published: July 20, 2017
Read Passin' Thru CD/LP/Track Review Passin' Thru
by Ian Patterson
Published: July 20, 2017
Read Ugly Beauty CD/LP/Track Review Ugly Beauty
by Nick Davies
Published: July 20, 2017
Read Relaxin’ With the Miles Davis Quintet CD/LP/Track Review Relaxin’ With the Miles Davis Quintet
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: July 19, 2017
Read "Binary" CD/LP/Track Review Binary
by Dave Wayne
Published: January 5, 2017
Read "The Blue Shroud" CD/LP/Track Review The Blue Shroud
by John Sharpe
Published: September 17, 2016
Read "Sea Ahead" CD/LP/Track Review Sea Ahead
by James Nadal
Published: July 28, 2016
Read "O Horizonte" CD/LP/Track Review O Horizonte
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: December 8, 2016
Read "Live At Shinjuku Pit Inn" CD/LP/Track Review Live At Shinjuku Pit Inn
by Nicola Negri
Published: September 9, 2016
Read "Hear & Now" CD/LP/Track Review Hear & Now
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: January 22, 2017

Support All About Jazz: MAKE A PURCHASE  

Support our sponsor

Upgrade Today!

Musician? Boost your visibility at All About Jazz and drive traffic to your website with our Premium Profile service.

Donate!