Trumpet and Piano Jazz: Irvin Mayfield/Ellis Marsalis & Umberto Petrin/Jean-Luc Cappozzo

Jim Santella By

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Irvin Mayfield & Ellis Marsalis
Love Songs, Ballads and Standards
Basin Street Records

Umberto Petrin & Jean-Luc Cappozzo
Law Years
Soul Note

Two creative trumpet and piano duos turn up the heat of passion on these widely different albums. One represents the straight-ahead road with bass and drums while the other dive-bombs into free jazz territory. Both trumpeters, however, wear their emotions proudly and share openly.

Irvin Mayfield delivers a heartfelt performance on Love Songs, Ballads and Standards. He's dedicated the album to the memory of his father, who perished in Hurricane Katrina. With pianist Ellis Marsalis the trumpeter reaches out emotionally and catches each melody firmly in hand. Add bass and drums (Neal Caine and Jaz Sawyer respectively) and you have a formula that keeps the torch lit. Mayfield inserts half-valve statements into his work, reaches way up high to say more and settles comfortably onto familiar themes. The Louisiana Philharmonic appears alongside the quartet in 2004 at the Orpheum Theater for three tracks. Seven quartet tracks recorded in 2004 at the New Orleans Museum of Art differ in sound from the four that were recorded last year in studio. The great hall has a wide-open resonance, while the studio sessions contain more clarity and focus. Nevertheless, Mayfield squeezes emotion out of his horn with an easy-to-recognize love affair that few trumpeters can admit to honestly. His genuine spirit has always marked his play. While this one isn't his best showing, it's borne from the spirit of New Orleans that Mayfield accepted long ago as his own.

Jean-Luc Cappozzo forges an exciting program of duets with pianist Umberto Petrin on Law Years that dances in and around free jazz. The two artists create playful interpretations of familiar pieces as well as fresh original works that bare their emotions. Filled with passion and primed for exploring, the duo pushes and pulls its way through musical conversation. While Petrin's overly active fingers pound the keyboard high and low for emphasis, Cappozzo's fluid trumpet and flugelhorn match with emotional cries that oftentimes alter the pitch intentionally. These blue escapades lend considerable warmth to the session. Then, there are the horn kisses and low growls that flirt with Petrin's prepared piano wanderings inside his instrument. Wide contrast exists between the thematic statements that they employ on pieces such as "'Round Midnight" and the more alien conversations on originals such as "Impro." Lyrical in places and eerie in others, the session features two powerful thinkers who knit jazz' tradition together with its future just to watch it grow.

Tracks and Personnel

Love Songs, Ballads and Standards

Tracks: Yesterday; Superstar; Romeo and Juliet; My One and Only Love; Mo' Betta Blues; Round Midnight; Don't Know Why; In a Sentimental Mood; Come Rain or Come Shine; Like a Star; Blame It on the Sun; A House Is Not a Home; You and I; Yesterday.

Personnel: Irvin Mayfield: trumpet; Ellis Marsalis: piano; Neal Caine: double bass; Jaz Sawyer: drums; Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra.

Law Years

Tracks: Law Years; Prayer; Stella by Starlight; Edgard Poe's Room; 'Round About Midnight; Impro; Darco Joe; Law Years.

Personnel: Umberto Petrin: piano; Jean-Luc Cappozzo: trumpet, flugelhorn.

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