"The Gate" opens trumpeter Larry Williams' latest CD, The Bridge, with a Miles Davis-like cry on the mute that drifts into a conversation with Robert Perkins' churning drum set - a sound that would fit right in with the things Miles was offering up in the mid-sixties, in those brief interludes when he was in a mellow mood.
Williams is one of those pro musicians with a wide range of experiencefeatured performer at Disney World and on Princess Cruises, backing the likes of Robert Goulet and Marilyn McCoo, Johnny Mathis, Merv Griffin, Michael Feinstein. So you know he's familiar with the American Songbook. Indeed, his own composition "The Sentimental Way You Are" is a beautiful song, like a long lost Cole Porter tune, one of those late night, unlucky in love melodies.
On "Wise," Williams shows off his open horn workhe mixes mute and open throughoutwith a tangy tone, while piano man John Rangel jabs at the trumpeter's long lines.
Accessible. That's the word that comes to mind with The Bridge. Good, solid, mainstream jazz, with a satisfying complexity and depth to the compositions that suggests classical training in Williams' resume.
All of the tunes are originals, except for the much done classic "Like Someone In Love," which starts out with a spring in its step, the hat worn at a rakish angle, until the band drifts into a reverie, like...well someone in love.
I love jazz because it swings.
I was first exposed to jazz in Houston.
I met Joe LoCascio and Bob Henschen.
The best show I ever attended was Pat Martino.
The first jazz record I bought was Time Out by the Dave Brubeck Quartet.
My advice to new listeners is to relax on 2 and 4 beats.