There's always something reassuring about the pleasingly familiar, whether it's a favorite shirt, a nice helping of comfort food or the coziness of a frequent neighborhood hangout. Philadelphia's Tattooed Mom Bar fits the bill for Vince Tampio and a few good friends. Besides evoking that welcoming atmosphere with its title and cover, The Nook's classic-sounding bop and swing should make Blue Note or Prestige Records aficionados feel right at home from the first downbeat.
For a trumpeter who has seemingly done it allfunk, fusion, Irish folk, electronica and moreTampio surprisingly hasn't made an all-acoustic jazz recording before this. The unusually conventional context shows that however much he may genre-hop, use exotic instruments or play with sound processing, those aren't just gimmicks and his playing can stand on its own in fine style. So too does his composing: most of the pieces here are originals that could have fit on those classic '50s-'60s sessions with no trouble. By the end, the band's stroll through "Dear Old Stockholm" (complete with teases of some other standard chestnuts along the way) feels like a natural set-closer rather than a departure.
The easygoing title track sounds just the way a fun late-night gab session feels. There isn't time for extensive soloing, as this brisk track is closer to an old 45 side than the LP-length performances of the others, but the leader bops heartily through his solo spot as much as time allows. "Fresco" spins its blues waltz with moody aplomb, while Philly icon John Swana drops in to add a dollop of sassy trombone on the slinky "Two Dollar Breakfast Special."
That makes for the album's arguable highlightTampio and Brian Blaker are clearly thrilled to be locking horns with their guest but there's no drop in the gang's cooking chemistry to be heard anywhere else. Solid piano from John B. Hedges and the Charlie Heim-Ben Basile rhythm section would be a versatile asset to any club set or jam session out there. The Nook likewise makes another worthwhile addition to Tampio's omnivorous portfolio, and an inviting treat for any swing-loving listeners who happen to drop in.
Dangerous Cucumber; The Nook; Fresco; Two Dollar Breakfast Special; Split Orange; Dear Old Stockholm.
Vince Tampio: trumpet, flugelhorn, shaker; John Swana: valve trombone (4); Ben Basile: upright bass; Brian Blaker: tenor saxophone; John B Hedges: piano; Charlie Heim: drum kit.
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