With the possible exception of Louis Armstrong, Clark Terry was probably the most unique trumpet "stylist" in jazz history. Hearing one note you would bet the farm that it was CT.
Chris Humphrey's The Voice of Clark Terry, Vol. 1 is a marvelously unique salute. This recording presents a dozen Terry-composed originals. They are sung superbly by Humphrey with brilliant original lyrics provided by drummer Les Harris As an additional treat, Humphrey s(w)ings "vocalesed" lyrics again from Harris's pento actual Clark Terry recorded solos. It is a monumentally-creative feat and one which, surprisingly, has never been previously attempted. A gaggle of fine jazz trumpet playerseach with links to Clark Terrykicks in with fine background fills and slick improv solos that are CT-spirited.
"One Foot in the Gutter" launches the festivities. From Bar One things are swinging heavy as Humphrey (answered by trumpeter Trent Austin) delivers notes and words that are joyous. "Bayside Cookout," is a strollin' story that is fine and blue with Humphrey, Palance, Shilansky and bassist, Marty Ballou serving as top "chefs." The up-tempo "Ode to Pres," a Lester Young tribute, has Humphrey tracked over himself and scatting heavy with some mumbles overtones before trumpeter Jeff Stout Bops on.
Humphrey's is a gregariously happy tenor voice, one perfect for the joyously infectious jazz playing that was Clark Terry. He is as nimble as an Olympic gymnast as he's singing the "vocalesed" lyrics and Terry's note-for-note solos. That takes a ton of talent for a vocalistand Humphrey has plenty. Les Harris, Jr.'s lyrics are downright brilliant, no doubt about it. Theyare hip, slick, and chockfull of the spicy jargon..
"Cote D'Azur" is a straight-ahead minor key swinger with Humphrey scatting right on point and tight with Klaxton, Shilansky and Harris solos. "Sheba," a gorgeous ballad isgiven all the straight-ahead swinging material herea highlight track that stands out. On that cut, Humphrey demos that he can deliver passionate verbiage with color and emotional flavor. "The Snapper," with hip Harris verbiage, closes the date on a swinging "2 and 4" with Humphrey hooking in fine vocal form, Austin blowing Harmon-muted heat, and an ice-cool Shilansky solo.
The "Magnificent Seven" trumpeters engaged here all have relationships with Terry. All have great improv chops and are wise to fill behind Humphrey without stepping on feet. In some of their fine solos, particularly in Trent Austin's case, there is unabashed echoing of the master's stylings and plunger work. The ace rhythm section here supports superbly and adds much to the fun.
The Voice of Clark Terry Vol.1 is an admirable salute to CT and an awesome accomplishment all around. And, like our beloved Clark Terry, it is a joy to behold.
One Foot In The Gutter; Digits; Bayside Cookout;To Pres; Pint Of Bitter; Co-op; Sheba;
Serenade To A Bus Seat; Cote D’Azur; Chat Qui Peche; Cruising;The Snapper.
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