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Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
Music Reviews
United States
New York City
New York
New York, NY

Trumpet Legends at 65 at Iridium

by Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
February 21, 2003
1650 Broadway, Corner of 51st St
New York, NY 10019

About the Author:

Trumpet Legends at 65

The Music of Lee Morgan (Bio), Freddie Hubbard (Bio)
and Booker Little (Bio)
David Weiss (Bio)
Terell Stafford (Website)
Nicholas Payton (Website)
Tom Harrell (Website)

Anthony Wonsey, Piano (Website)
Vicente Arches, Bass
Pete LaRoca Sims, Drums (Website)

Iridium Jazz Club
1650 Broadway, Corner of 51st St, NYC
(See Other Iridium Reviews)

Media Contact: Jim Eigo, Jazz Promo Services

By Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
February 21, 2003

Jazz Promo Notes (Edited):
…Celebrating and re-examining the music of these trumpet masters, who all would have or will turn 65 in 2003. Freddie Hubbard (Born April 7, 1938), Lee Morgan (Born July 10, 1938), and Booker Little (Born April 2, 1938) were clearly the greatest trumpet players of their generation. The soaring, fiery trumpet playing of Freddie and Lee defined what has become known as the Blue Note sound as their trumpet playing is present on most of the classic albums of that period. Booker Little made his mark with Max Roach and then joined forces with Eric Dolphy for the ground-breaking Live at Five Spot recordings and the seminal Out Front album.

Interpreting these great artists' music, are a cross-section of some of the finest trumpet players working in jazz today:

Nicholas Payton is one of the trumpet giants of his generation. Encouraged early on by Wynton Marsalis and Clark Terry, he soon rose to prominence performing with Mr. Marsalis and joining Elvin Jones band. Soon he was signed to Verve records and a string of highly successful records soon followed including his Grammy winning duet record with Doc Cheatham and his most recent, the Grammy nominated Dear Louis.

Terell Stafford - Since the mid-1990's, Terell has been performing as an integral part of various jazz groups, led by such stellar performers as McCoy Tyner, Cedar Walton, Herbie Mann, Jon Faddis' Carnegie Hall Jazz Band, Wynton Marsalis' Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, The Mingus Big Band, and the Village Vanguard Jazz Orchestra. As a much-in-demand-sideman and solo artist, he is considered one of jazz's rising trumpet stars.

David Weiss- In addition to working with Freddie Hubbard, Jaki Byard, Frank Foster and Jimmy Heath, Weiss began to study with fellow trumpeters Tommy Turrentine and Bill Hardman. Trumpeter Weiss soon became a highly sought- after arranger, and his arrangements and transcriptions have appeared on over 80 CDs. Highlights include arranging the main theme to the NBC series The Cosby Mysteries and CDs by Abbey Lincoln, Freddie Hubbard, Rodney Kendrick, Alto Legacy with Phil Woods, Vincent Herring, and Antonio Hart, and a Rahsaan Roland Kirk tribute CD. In 2001, Weiss collaborated with Freddie Hubbard, arranging many of his greatest tunes for octet and recording these selections with the New Jazz Composers Octet on New Colors (Hip Bop).

For this special project, we are pleased to have the legendary drummer Pete LaRoca Sims performing with the group. Mr. Sims began his prodigious recording career at age 19, recording with Sonny Rollins and Sonny Clark. He has also recorded and/or performed with John Coltrane, Jackie McLean, Joe Henderson, Art Farmer, Kenny Dorham, Stan Getz and Slide Hampton and many others. His ties to this project are special, as he has recorded with Booker Little on his Booker Little and Friend album, with Freddie Hubbard on his Blue Note classic Blue Spirits, and with Lee Morgan and Freddie Hubbard together on the Night of the Cookers albums.

Jazz Review

The second set began tonight with a wild, vibrant flourish, as a tribute to Booker Little. Nicholas Payton began with very clear and exciting sounds on his trumpet, which was close to the mike, for the fullest effect. Terell Stafford came in next, his horn blasting and hissing, with the same beat, same theme, but lower chords. Anthony Wonsey was a steady backup on his richly energized keyboard. Stafford went crazy, looking to me like Dizzy Gillespie at times, completely at ease, cheeks full of air, and seamlessly riding the melody and hard to reach notes with seasoned professionalism. David Weiss had a mellower, milder approach, and Tom Harrell proved to be quite improvisational. The piano created a very lovely background, as did Vicente Arches' bass and Pete LaRoca Sims' drums.

The first of the Freddie Hubbard pieces showcased Tom Harrell, who reached clear, high notes and effortless trills, as he seemed to take off on his own. When offstage, Harrell appeared to be meditating to the music and not alert, as were the other musicians. Stafford played longer notes with deeper tones, in a much more classic approach. Stafford is strong and vibrant, producing dramatically long-winded passages. As my guest, Larry Hassman, said, "He pulls you right in".

When Payton came forward, the drums and bass also picked up in volume and with rapid-fire passages. Payton creatively added one more higher or lower note to each bar of music, in an improvisational technique that extended the interest and excitement. Payton was technically superb. Wonsey carried some passages, with bass and drums backing him, prior to the giant rush of the trumpets in unison.

The Lee Morgan piece was a mellow and danceable and could have been sung as a torch song, had there been words. It was clear and sweet, and Stafford, as soloist, connected the passages and muted his trumpet in a romantic and passionate manner, even without the addition of a mute. David Weiss joined in with a technical and academic style, but obviously enjoying himself. Wonsey's blues-like keyboard created warmth and romance.

The next Freddie Hubbard piece was reminiscent of Charlie Parker, or one could say, Bird-like. It was fast, upbeat, swinging, with dizzying, unconnected passages. The drums and bass were mostly blended, with the bass seeming to be featured as a rich, warm, and evocative cushion, to the wilder elements of Harrell's horn.

The next piece showcased Payton with a highly progressive motif. He was extremely inspired and loves to repeat, as before, short, fast series of notes, playing with the endings in tone, key, and timing. LaRoca Sims' drums came alive, as did Arches' bass, with never a bow, but a constant and charismatic backup. Weiss was excellent in his participatory passages.

The final piece, perhaps by Hubbard, was all in flames. The trumpets burned like wild fire, with Stafford's signature connectedness and passion, and each trumpet presenting a final solo, with enjoyable and predictable quality. The ending, a round robin of the four trumpets, was followed by a wild symphonic blending in an extremely satisfying blast of musical fireworks.

Photos by Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower Guest Photographer, Larry Hassman

Nicholas Payton (Trumpet)

Terell Stafford (Trumpet)

Anthony Wonsey (Piano)

Anthony Wonsey, Terell Stafford, David Weiss, Nicholas Payton (Trumpets)

Terell Stafford and Nicholas Payton

Terell Stafford, Roberta, Nicholas Payton

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