The pantheon of jazz trumpet players includes familiar names such as Davis, Gillespie, Brown, Hubbard and Morgan. There are, however, numerous lesser known trumpet players whose music comprises an essential part of jazz history. One of our contemporary trumpet masters, Brian Lynch, embarked upon a project focusing upon some of the unsung heroes – and thus the title for this project, the second volume of which is our album of the month for December.
Lynch says “Unsung Heroes pays tribute to and features the compositions of jazz trumpet players such as Joe Gordon, Tommy Turrentine, Idrees Sulieman, and other greats who have flown under the radar of popular acclaim despite their artistry and influence on players such as myself.”
Unsung Heroes, Volume 2, features the same stellar sextet that appeared upon the first volume, led by Brian Lynch whose playing is always a treat – energetic, warm and clearly voiced. While Lynch often performs in a Latin jazz setting, having played extensively with Eddie Palmieri and recorded with Conrad Herwig on the latter's “Latin Side” (of Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock) projects, he is into hard-bop territory upon these tracks. Blazing the path with him is the ever fiery and Adderley-influenced alto player Vincent Herring. Alex Hoffman commands a full-toned tenor sound making for a three-horn front line sound. The rhythm section consists of the fine pianist Rob Schneiderman, David Wong playing bass and Pete Van Nostrand at the drum set.
Tommy Turrentine was the older brother of Stanley Turrentine and retired in the 1960s. His composition “It Could Be” opens the program in an easily swinging fashion affording opportunity to enjoy this marvelous group's impressive chops and interplay. Howard McGhee's “Sandy” commences with a dissonant fanfare that seamlessly moves into the breezy latin-based theme serving as an excellent vehicle for improvisation. Tricky stop time passages amidst a swinging tempo provide the setting for Idrees Sulieman's "Out/Dancing Shoes" whereupon Alex Hoffman's tenor sound exhibits shades of Hank Mobley and Sonny Rollins while Rob Schneiderman's piano work reflects elements of Bud Powell and Sonny Clark. Lynch's composition “Nother Never” is dedicated to trumpeter Louis Smith and comes right out of the gate like a bop warhorse with Vincent Herring's sharp and fluid alto sax attack. As with every track, bassist David Wong and drummer Pete Van Nostrand have the timekeeping in capable hands and Van Nostrand engages in some spirited trades with the horns.
“Marissa's Mood” is a Brian Lynch composition dedicated to his wife and features exhilarating unison work from the horn players before the soloists take their turns. Five selections feature just a quartet, with Lynch playing flugelhorn on two numbers such as the idyllic Sulieman composition “Orange Blossoms”. His superb control and choice of notes is evidenced with beautiful support from the rhythm section.
Here's a delightful manner in which to spend some quality listening time enjoying decidedly modern, positive and fresh interpretations of music that simultaneously embrace the heritage of past masters and allows our current masters opportunity to shine.
Musicians: Brian Lynch - trumpet, flugelhorn; Vincent Herring - alto sax; Alex Hoffman - tenor sax; Rob Schneiderman – piano; David Wong – bass; Pete Van Nostrand - drums
Tracks: It Could Be (T. Turrentine); Heleen (J.Gordon); Sandy (H. McGhee); Short Steps (I. Sulieman); Marissa’s Mood (B. Lynch); Out/Dancing Shoes (I. Sulieman); Gone But Not Forgotten (T. Turrentine); Nother Never (B. Lynch); Orange Blossoms (I. Sulieman); I’m So Excited By You (D. Byrd)