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Brian Lynch: Tribute to the Trumpet Masters

C. Andrew Hovan By

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From stints with Horace Silver and Art Blakey to those with such Latin luminaries as Hector LaVoe and Eddie Palmieri, trumpeter Brian Lynch has learned his lessons well. First turning a few heads with his solid series of dates as a leader for Criss Cross, Lynch made the move to the fledgling Sharp Nine label in 1995. There he would record his first volume of quartet recordings, Keep Your Circle Small, to be followed two years later with the multifaceted Spheres of Influence.

Spheres would prove to be a hard act to follow, owing to its elaborate and far-ranging implications, yet Lynch’s second set of quartet recordings as documented on the newly issued Tribute to the Trumpet Masters is far from being any kind of letdown. In fact, it not only acts as a solid homage but also testifies to Lynch’s talent as a lead voice. There have been relatively few records in the jazz annals sporting just a trumpeter with rhythmic backing (standouts for this reviewer would have to include Kenny Dorham’s Quiet Kenny and Ted Curson’s Fire Down Below ). The instrument is a demanding one and it’s often easier to include a saxophone in the front line to balance out the leadership chores. But as he did on Keep Your Circle Small, Lynch once again proves that the quartet setting can be a viable one for trumpet.

Lynch has also shrewdly avoided just picking out tunes by the trumpeters he’s chosen to spotlight. Out of the nine cuts on the disc, over half of them are Lynch originals and each one sports a title that lays claim to the artist being feted. The most impressive of these are the sprightly “Woody Shaw” and the propulsive bossa of “Tom Harrell,” which recalls such Harrell compositions as “Moon Alley” and “Sail Away.” Freddie Hubbard’s “Eclipse” provides a magnificent ballad forum for Lynch and both Booker Little’s “Opening Statement” and Lee Morgan’s “Search For the New Land” are valuable pieces seldom if ever done by modern day players.

Lynch is extraordinary throughout in both lead and solo statements, with motivated backing coming from pianist Mulgrew Miller, bassist Essiet Essiet, and drummer Carl Allen. In fact, this may be Miller’s finest work of recent vintage; he absolutely tears it up on the aforementioned “Woody Shaw.” So while there may be a few years of delay between releases from Lynch, they’re always worth the wait and his recent Sharp Nine dates have yet to disappoint.


Track Listing: Woody Shaw, Eclipse, Bus Stop Serenade (For K. D.), Tom Harrell, Elusive, Search For the New Land, Tribute to Blue (Mitchell), Charles Tolliver, Opening Statement

Personnel: Brian Lynch- trumpet, Mulgrew Miller- piano, Essiet Essiet- bass, Carl Allen- drums

Title: Tribute to the Trumpet Masters | Year Released: 2000 | Record Label: Sharp Nine Records


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