Jul 23, 2014
With his participation in the Bill Warfield Big Band’s Trumpet Story, the legendary trumpeter Randy Brecker continues a series of fine guest recordings with large ensembles. Since his Grammy winning Randy in Brasil CD in 2008, he has continually made recordings with ensembles as varied as the Danish Radio Big Band and The Danish National Chamber Orchestra (The Jazz Ballad Book); the Kalisz Philharmonic Orchestra (Night in Calisia, also a Grammy winner); and Chuck Owen’s Big Band Jazz Surge (The Comet’s Tail – Performing the Compositions of Michael Brecker).
Brecker’s playing has been a major influence on the work of fellow trumpeter/composer Bill Warfield. Brecker first collaborated with Warfield on a Sketches of Spain concert at Lehigh University, where Warfield is an Associate Professor of Music and directs the jazz studies program. Since then, whenever Warfield considered working on a large scale tribute to his favorite trumpet players, he always heard Brecker in his head.
The project, a four-part suite, morphed into Trumpet Story, a Big Band recording of four Warfield pieces, a Brecker tune (“Sponge”) and arrangements of songs that influenced Warfield over the years, including “Speak Like a Child” and “Pharoah’s Dance”. Brecker shines throughout, especially on Warfield’s funky “When Janie Takes the Stand.” As always, Brecker can play with the bombast needed for a a Big Band soloist, yet with the undeniable lyricism that has made his versions of Brazilian tunes so plaintive and seductive. For me, the highlights come on the soloing on “Sponge”, as Brecker lays it down, and Mark Phaneuf’s tenor sax and Sam Burtis’ trombone answer the challenge.