A Most Interesting Tone. Count Basie Band trumpeter Byron Stripling has a tone that is a throwback to a bygone era. He has a vocal style that is the same. His trumpet style is an amalgam of Louis Armstrong, Cootie Williams and Roy Eldridge. Dirty yet precise, Stripling’s trumpet blows a blast of fresh air that provides a market foil to the Davis-Marsalis-Roney axis. Stripling’s vocal style recalls Armstrong, a tenor Johnny Hartman, and a Nat Cole, a little out of control. Striplingnow! is his debut release for the newly established Nagel Heyer 2000 series, chiming in right behind Wycliffe Gordon’s very fine Slidin’ Home (Nagel Heyer 2001, reviewed elsewhere in this issue).
The Cats in the Cage. Stripling is joined by university chum Dave Glasser blowing alto and penning three of the discs twelve pieces. Basie alum Frank Wess shows up with his tenor sans flute, providing an effective obbligato accompaniment on “East of the Sun” as well as a honkin’ good solo on “Greasy Livin’.” The rhythm section is rounded out with Bill Charlap on piano, Peter Washington on bass, Dennis Mackrel on drums. As a unit, Stripling’s band plays an updated, turn-or-the-century Modern Jazz. Plenty of Blues, Be Bop, Hard Bop, and Post Bop. The music is very effective and listenable to all ears. Kudos to Randy Sandke and Daniel Nagel-Heyer for a great disc and a great 2000 series.
Track Listing: Greasy Livin
Personnel: Byron Stripling: Trumpet, Vocals; Dave Glasser: Alto saxophone; Frank Wess: Tenor Saxophone; Bill Charlap: Piano; Peter Washington: Bass; Dennis Mackrel: Drums.