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Red Rodney: Live At The Village Vanguard

Jim Santella By

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The first time on CD, the reissue of Red Rodney’s 1980 sessions at The Village Vanguard marks the beginning of his comeback and finds the leader’s trumpet work in fine form. Two experienced horn players and a young rhythm section made for a strong program with hard bop drama and pure musical ballad sentiment. In the liner notes, Rodney states, "I was determined to associate myself with young musicians in order to move ahead with the music of today."

Ira Sullivan picks up the flugelhorn as Red Rodney carefully interweaves muted trumpet lines around Johnny Mandel’s "A Time For Love." And they both opt for flugelhorns on "What Can We Do" with Sullivan coming from the right channel, Rodney from the left. Again on the final track, the two seasoned veterans perform together on trumpet and flugelhorn. Jack Walrath, who wrote half the tunes on this program, contributed much to Rodney’s band library over the years. It’s Walrath’s "Come Home to Red" that allows the leader to pour his open trumpet sound over the room (backed by Sullivan’s gentle flute fills) as a reminder that one of his earliest influences was Harry James. After a long career with several disturbing setbacks, it’s nice to remember that Red Rodney succeeded in the end by passing the torch on triumphantly to the next generation.


Track Listing: Lodgellian Mode; A Time For Love; Mr. Oliver; What Can We Do; Come Home to Red; Blues in the Guts.

Personnel: Red Rodney- trumpet, flugelhorn; Ira Sullivan- soprano sax, tenor sax, flute, flugelhorn; Garry Dial- piano; Paul Berner- bass; Tom Whaley- drums.

Title: Live At The Village Vanguard | Year Released: 1999 | Record Label: 32 Records

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