Marvin Stamm: Fantasy & Alone Together

Ken Dryden By

Sign in to view read count

The Marvin Stamm Quartet
Alone Together
Jazzed Media

Bill Mays
The Inventions Trio: Featuring Marvin Stamm & Alisa Horn

Marvin Stamm has worked with many big band leaders, including units led by Woody Herman, Thad Jones & Mel Lewis and Stan Kenton. But his lyrical style of trumpet and flugelhorn is best heard in small group settings. Beginning in 2000, he has recorded far more frequently as a leader himself, often with his good friend, pianist Bill Mays. Two examples of his recent work include a combined CD/DVD of a 2006 concert with Mays plus an unusual trio date led by the pianist, adding classical cellist Alisa Horn, that focuses primarily on classical themes, along with an original suite.

Stamm and Mays have been improvising on classical repertoire for some time and naturally decided to record some of their explorations for Fantasy. They completed a few duets together in 2001, including a jaunty take of George Gershwin's "Prelude No. 2", a stunning rendition of Alexander Scriabin's "Prelude Op. 11 #3" that segues into a shimmering interpretation of the South American favorite "Sometime Ago", along with an elegant take of Baroque master Johann Sebastian Bach's well-known "Invention #8" that makes a very logical transition into Charlie Parker's "Ah-Leu-Cha", while also adding a bit of the 18th century to the bop standard. Their jubilant take of "Baubles, Bangles and Beads" also belongs, as this show tune from Kismet was actually adapted from a work by classical composer Alexander Borodin.

Stamm introduced classical cellist Alisa Horn to Mays and suggested they play together, which resulted in an instant chemistry. In 2005, they recorded several tracks as a trio, including a haunting take of Sergei Rachmaninoff's "Vocalise" and a pastorale interpretation of French Impressionist Claude Debussy's "Girl With the Flaxen Hair". The centerpiece of this session is Mays' three-movement title track, a lively commissioned suite that showcases all three players at their very best. Although still finding her way as an improviser, Horn doesn't exhibit the stiffness that many famous classical players have shown when trying to play on a record date with jazz musicians. Clearly the inspired work of The Inventions Trio merits a return trip into the studio.

The Marvin Stamm Quartet: Alone Together is a rare treat for jazz lovers: a double disc package with both a CD and DVD from a club date in 2006 containing identical performances (with a little more conversation between numbers on the latter). Stamm and Mays are joined by bassist Rufus Reid and their frequent collaborator Ed Soph on drums. The opening track is an atypical approach to a familiar standard. Mays hand-mutes chords and Reid plays a droning line in a rather striking, funky setting of "Alone Together", with Stamm serving as the straight man on trumpet. Reid's intricate bop vehicle "Come Out and Play" is full of twists, showcasing Stamm's inventive flugelhorn. The combination of Stamm's bittersweet, mellow larger horn and Mays' string strumming add new blood to the standard "Invitation".

The originals are equally enjoyable. Stamm's "When She Looks at Me" is a dreamy ballad perfect for late night listening, though Mays steals the show a bit; his "T's Butter" is a wild reworking of Sonny Rollins' "Oleo" (which is in turn based on "I Got Rhythm") that brings down the house. Mays' original "Lagrima Agradecida" is an engaging bossa nova while his "Fun House" opens as an abstract piano-drum duet then switches to a challenging post-bop theme.

The audio, camera work and editing is first rate, in spite of having to deal with a small stage and an audience very close to the players.

Tracks and Personnel

Alone Together

Tracks: Alone Together; Come Out and Play; Invitation; Baubles, Bangles and Beads; Lagrima Agradecida; Fun House; When She Looks at Me; 'T's Butter.

Personnel: Marvin Stamm: trumpet and flugelhorn; Bill Mays: piano; Rufus Reid: bass; Ed Soph: drums

The Inventions Trio: Featuring Marvin Stamm & Alisa Horn

Tracks: Baubles, Bangles and Beads; Vocalise; Fantasy Movement 1; Fantasy Movement 2; Fantasy Movement 3; Prelude #2; Prelude Op. 11 #3/Sometime Ago; Girl With Flaxen Hair; Invention #8/Ah-Leu-Cha.

Personnel: Bill Mays: piano; Marvin Stamm: trumpet, flugelhorn; Alisa Horn: cello.


More Articles

Read Dan Phillips Returns To Chicago Multiple Reviews Dan Phillips Returns To Chicago
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 21, 2017
Read New, Notable and Nearly Missed Multiple Reviews New, Notable and Nearly Missed
by Phil Barnes
Published: January 25, 2017
Read Blues Deluxe: Colin James, Matthew Curry and Johnny Nicholas Multiple Reviews Blues Deluxe: Colin James, Matthew Curry and Johnny Nicholas
by Doug Collette
Published: January 14, 2017
Read Weekertoft Hits Its Stride… Multiple Reviews Weekertoft Hits Its Stride…
by John Eyles
Published: January 7, 2017
Read Ivo Perelman: The Art of the Improv Trio Multiple Reviews Ivo Perelman: The Art of the Improv Trio
by Jim Trageser
Published: January 4, 2017
Read 2016: An Ivo Perelman Marathon Multiple Reviews 2016: An Ivo Perelman Marathon
by Mark Corroto
Published: January 3, 2017
Read "Miles Ahead Soundtrack / Live in Tokyo 1975" Multiple Reviews Miles Ahead Soundtrack / Live in Tokyo 1975
by Geno Thackara
Published: May 31, 2016
Read "Rolling Stones: Sweet Summer Sun & Havana Moon DVD/CD" Multiple Reviews Rolling Stones: Sweet Summer Sun & Havana Moon DVD/CD
by Doug Collette
Published: November 13, 2016
Read "Another Timbre’s Violin +1 Series" Multiple Reviews Another Timbre’s Violin +1 Series
by John Eyles
Published: June 9, 2016
Read "Dan Phillips Returns To Chicago" Multiple Reviews Dan Phillips Returns To Chicago
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 21, 2017

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!

Buy it!