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Bill Warfield Big Band: Trumpet Story

Jack Bowers By

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Trumpeters Bill Warfield and Randy Brecker have been friends for twenty years; it's high time they joined forces in a recording studio and began making beautiful music together. On Trumpet Story, Warfield's big-band homage to trumpeters and other musicians who have influenced him through the years, six-time Grammy Award winner Brecker solos on eight of ten numbers, several of which were written by Warfield with him in mind. The result is what Joe Listener might expect—uniformly high-caliber jazz tastefully articulated by Brecker's all-purpose trumpet / flugelhorn and suitably amplified by Warfield's A-list ensemble and perceptive charts.

This is not, as one might reasonably expect from its name, an anthology of jazz trumpet from New Orleans to the present day but rather an invariably contemporary enterprise with bows not only toward a number of eminent trumpeters but to such notable composers as Herbie Hancock, Donald Brown, Joe Zawinul and Philip Sparke. Warfield, who solos handsomely on Sparke's easygoing "Flowerdale," arranged every number and wrote four: "When Janie Takes the Stand," "A Window That Shows Me the Moon," "In the Land of Chad and Barbie" and the winsome ballad "Carol" (for his wife). Brecker, for his part, composed the squishy "Sponge." A slightly abbreviated airplay version of "Janie" closes the album.

Besides Brecker, who is always in sync, the band's able soloists include guitarist Vic Juris ("Jamie," "Chad and Barbie," Zawinul's provocative "Pharaoh's Dance"), trombonist Tim Sessions ("Jamie"), bass trombonist Sam Burtis ("Sponge"), pianists Mike Eckroth (Hancock's "Speak Like a Child") and Art Hirahara ("Window"), alto Mike Migliore (Brown's charming "Theme for Malcolm"), tenors Mark Phaneuf ("Sponge," "Chad and Barbie") and Dave Riekenberg ("Carol") and baritone Matt Hong ("Pharaoh's Dance"). As every member of the ensemble is a seasoned pro whose unwavering focus is on the task at hand, there is no cause to single out or censure anyone.

In sum, a splendid enterprise from start to finish. If there is a downside, it may be that Warfield now and again leans a tad too heavily on rock beats ("Jamie," "Sponge," "Pharaoh's Dance") but that is purely a matter of personal taste, certainly nothing to give rise to any equivocation or concern.

Track Listing: When Janie Takes the Stand; Speak Like a Child; A Window That Shows Me the Moon; Theme for Malcolm; Flowerdale; Sponge; In the Land of Chad and Barbie; Carol; Pharaoh’s Dance; When Janie Takes the Stand (edited airplay cut).

Personnel: Bill Warfield: composer, arranger, conductor, trumpet; Dave Chamberlain: associate conductor; Jon Owens: trumpet, flugelhorn; Glenn Drewes: trumpet, flugelhorn; Colin Brigstocke: trumpet, flugelhorn; Darryl Shaw: trumpet, flugelhorn; Bud Burridge: trumpet, flugelhorn; Mike Migliore, Dave Rickenberg, Mark Phaneuf, Matt Hong, Ada Rovatti: saxophones; Tim Harrison: flute, piano; Tim Sessions: trombone; Chris Rinaman: trombone; Charlie Gordon: trombone, bass trombone; Sam Burtis: bass trombone; Art Hirahara: piano; Mike Eckroth: piano; Vic Juris: electric, acoustic guitar; Gene Perla: electric, acoustic bass; Dmitri Kolesnik: acoustic bass; Scott Neumann: drums. Special guest artist – Randy Brecker, solo trumpet, flugelhorn, composer.

Title: Trumpet Story | Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: Planet Arts Records

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