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Nate Birkey: Rome

Read "Rome" reviewed by Victor L. Schermer

With this listenable and relaxed album, trumpeter Nate Birkey joins with four excellent musicians he hooked up with while playing in Italy to deliver a set of mostly ballads in his signature style with introspective improvising, empathic warmth, and minimal vibrato. His playing here is reminiscent of Bix Beiderbecke, one of Chet Baker's formative influences. The band, consisting of Roberto Tarenzi and Manuel Magrini alternating on piano, Luca Bulgarelli on bass. and Alessandro Marzi on drums is well attuned to ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Nate Birkey: Just a Closer Walk

Read "Nate Birkey: Just a Closer Walk" reviewed by Victor L. Schermer

Nate Birkey is a fine New York-based trumpeter who traveled a biographical route from childhood in Colorado to Boston's Berklee School of Music, then to various parts of the West Coast, living and working in the Los Angeles area for a while, and finally settling into the big-time jazz scene in NYC a few years ago. His travels are important, for they formed the foundation for an understanding of the American spirit that infuses his playing. He has made nine ...

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Nate Birkey: Christmas

Read "Christmas" reviewed by Victor L. Schermer

This may be the most laid back Christmas album ever. The more typical holiday records bring to mind sleigh-bells, snowmen, parties, families, caroling, mistletoe, chestnuts on an open fire, and fond memories of past holidays. What comes to mind in connection with Nate Birkey: Christmas are dry martinis, The New Yorker magazine, twilights by the ocean, and being half-asleep as embers glow in the fireplace. Even though the songs are mostly regulars for Christmas and New Years, the style provides ...

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Nate Birkey: Almost Home

Read "Almost Home" reviewed by Victor L. Schermer

This laid-back, mostly cool jazz album with echoes of the West Coast 1950s sound also bespeaks a certain dramatic intensity. Further, it invokes a shade of country blues as it goes along. Nate Birkey's trumpet and vocal renditions of both his own songs and some standards are enjoyable to hear, partly because they are strongly reminiscent of Chet Baker (with muted resonances to Miles Davis) while representing Birkey's own persona and interpretations, which possess a sincerity that contrasts with Baker's ...

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Nate Birkey: Shortest Day

Read "Shortest Day" reviewed by Florence Wetzel

Make way for Nate Birkey, a talented trumpeter/vocalist/composer who has been honing his talents in the Santa Barbara jazz scene and is now getting the national exposure he deserves. Birkey's latest release, Shortest Day , recorded live in 2004, showcases his considerable gifts and puts him front and center among jazz's most promising musicians. The CD is composed of eight tracks, an eclectic mix including Mingus' “Nostalgia in Times Square," the hymn “Abide with Me," “Tennessee Waltz," “You ...

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Nate Birkey: Ballads

Read "Ballads" reviewed by AAJ Staff

There is a mystical quality to Nate Birkey that manifests itself in both his vocals and Trumpet style. Birkey has been compared to both Miles Davis and Chet Baker, and his playing has more than a touch of the former and a whole lot of the latter. And Mr Birkey with a nod to his influences, adds his own message that makes this recording a most enjoyable endeavor.

“I'll Be Seeing You" Nice relaxed vocal. Trumpet solo ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Nate Birkey: The Mennonite and Ballads

Read "The Mennonite and Ballads" reviewed by Jim Santella

Based in Southern California, trumpeter Nate Birkey has been affiliated with both the mainstream and avant-garde scenes since he finished his studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. The leader, who released both albums this year, grew up in Colorado, where he began studying piano at an early age and “fell in love with" his father's trumpet in the 5th grade. Birkey's cohesive band has been together for several years, and has learned to anticipate one another's actions. The ...


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