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Roger Ingram: Roger Ingram Live at the College Hideaway with the Jim Stewart Orchestra

Nicholas F. Mondello By

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In 1960, there was a forgettable little movie titled Visit to a Small Planet (1960, Paramount Pictures) starring comedian Jerry Lewis (with an uncredited cameo by drummer, Buddy Rich). In the flick, all sorts of Lewis-looney shenanigans occur. Recently, trumpeter Roger Ingram landed his craft in Niantic, Connecticut and recorded a half-dozen neat cuts live with this superb local unit. No Looney Tunes here, the mission's result is a swinging and satisfying first encounter of the most enjoyable musical kind.

Ingram, whose stellar trumpet has graced Harry Connick, Jr.'s, Maynard Ferguson's, and Woody Herman's bands —and that of about every entertainment star in the Musical Universe —stretches out here as the group's featured soloist. His marvelous all-around playing along with the highly-energized Jim Stewart Big Band in the live format make the evening's performance exciting and more fun than a Jupiter joyride.

Roger takes musical command —and shows great trumpeting versatility —from lift-off, demonstrating some fine Bebop jazz chops on the swinging opener, "Then One Day I Had the Blues." A shrewd pro's pro and ace lead man, Ingram knows that over-indulging in stratospheric pyrotechnics for their own sake can easily grate and bore. Consequently, on that cut and on his renditions of more popular fare ("Superstar," "Yesterday") and the beautiful Latinesque ballad "Enchante," Ingram's gorgeous sound and lyrical—almost vocal—phrasing soar and are vividly reminiscent of the great Doc Severinsen's legendary Command Records studio recordings of the 60s. However, make no mistake: no wall-flower, Ingram lets his trumpet's altissimo register get kissed significantly and most impressively where apropos. He spits flame.

The Jim Stewart Big Band —which amazingly sight-read the charts on the live date —is supremely up to the task on its own while ably supporting and framing its Hideaway front man. This fine group swings hard when asked ("Then One Day I Had the Blues"), tastefully when balladic ("Superstar"), and features fine soloists in saxophonists, Carl Hosbond, Greg Case, and Cedric Mayfield, trombonist, Joe Park, and vocalist Christine Cooney ("Sway"). Stewart's own fine lead trumpeting and a very swinging rhythm section drive the group with flair throughout.

While Roger Ingram Live at the College Hideaway with the Jim Stewart Orchestra is a rather short stay on this landing—based on this neat adventure, a return—and hopefully longer —musical visit is a eagerly awaited. Even Mr. Lewis, who occasionally and comedically picked up a horn, might like to land once again, come by and sit in. That certainly would be a "toot hoot."

Track Listing: Then One Day I Had the Blues; Superstar; Enchante; Sway; Yesterday; Rehearsal Blues (Break Tune).

Personnel: Roger Ingram: trumpet; Jim Stewart, Dick Shook, Kevin Kinsall, Glenn DeGaetano, Lew Buckley: trumpets; Smantha Stewart, Greg Case, Cedric Mayfield, Jeremy Taylor, Paul Vasques, Carl Hosbond: saxophones; Joe Park, Tim Burke, Steve Nilson, Peter Rose, Dave Sherman: trombones; Tom Palinko: drums/percussion; Lou Bocciarelli: acoustic and electric bass;Peter Emmanual: keyboards; Ron Murray: acoustic and electric guitars; Christine Cooney: vocals; Lew Buckley: conductor.

Title: Roger Ingram Live at the College Hideaway with the Jim Stewart Orchestra | Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: One Too Tree

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