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 are Always on My Mind," as well as two excellent originals. The song choice gives a sense of Birkey's range. In the age-old tradition of West Coast jazz musicians, Birkey has worked extensively as a studio musician, and judging from Shortest Day he is certainly capable of soulful expression in a wide range of moods. On "Autumn Leaves" Birkey's trumpet is piercing and melancholy; on his composition "Indelibly You" he sings and soars with a joyfulness reminiscent of Dixieland and "Nostalgia in Times Square" boasts a tight hard bop front line of Birkey and tenor saxophonist Justin Claveria.
In an embarrassment of riches, in addition to Birkey's excellent trumpet work and compositional skills, he also sings. His voice has a unique quality, gentle and wistful on "Always on My Mind" and "Tennessee Waltz" and joyfully swinging on "Indelibly You." Birkey's vocals are infectious; his phrasing is spot-on and he is a master of saying much by saying little. (And if you like his singing, check out his earlier release Ballads , composed entirely of vocals.) Although still based in Santa Barbara, Birkey will be in town for a CD release party, so be sure to come out and hear him for yourself.
Track Listing: 1. Autumn Leaves
2. Tennessee Waltz
3. Indelibly You
4. Shortest Day
5. Always on My Mind
6. Abide With Me
7. Recado Bossa Nova
8. Nostalgia in Times Square
I met Erroll Garner at The Theatrical Grill in Cleveland a few hours before our family was to see him on stage at Severance Hall. That was 45 years ago and I was only 15! I spotted him nearby in a booth wearing a beautiful tux with a great white napkin draped over him! I was a little nervous as I approached him (he was eating shrimp cocktail) and said, Mr
I met Erroll Garner at The Theatrical Grill in Cleveland a few hours before our family was to see him on stage at Severance Hall. That was 45 years ago and I was only 15! I spotted him nearby in a booth wearing a beautiful tux with a great white napkin draped over him! I was a little nervous as I approached him (he was eating shrimp cocktail) and said, Mr. Garner, I love playing the piano... is there any advice you could give me?'' He hesitated, then looked back at me and said, Keep playin' and don't stop!'' That was great advice because at 60 years old, I'm still playin' and haven't stopped!