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Where Do You Start?

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Album Review

Few veterans of the classic bebop era were still active in 2002, and even fewer were still in their musical prime. Don Lanphere is a major exception. Rather than just recreating the past (which in his case includes leading a date that featured Fats Navarro), Lanphere always looks ahead. A distinctive tenor-saxophonist, Lanphere also doubles effective on soprano and leads a top-notch sextet in the Pacific Northwest. Where Do You Start has a high-quality repertoire performed by Lanphere, cornetist Jonathan Pugh, trombonist Jeff Hay, pianist Marc Seales, bassist Doug Miller and drummer John Bishop. The five originals by group members include "Blues Away" (which is in the Art Blakey hard bop tradition), a feature for Lanphere's soprano on the moody ballad "Ming's Dream" and the novel "Methuselah's Big Duck," which has the cornet and trombone imitating quacking sounds. Of the four other tunes, Jim Hall's "All Across The City" and "Where Do You Start" (which is very rarely ever done interpreted as an instrumental but works quite well) are joined by Tadd Dameron's "The Scene Is Clean" and a wistful version of "A Cottage For Sale." Just one in a string of excellent Don Lanphere recordings after 1980, Where Do You Start has been put out by Origin, a valuable label that documents the jazz scene in Washington State.


Born: 26 June 1928 in Wenatchee, WA

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Don Lanphere's career can easily be divided into two periods with a long interlude in between. He came to New York when he was 19 and made some impressive recordings with Fats Navarro in 1949, keeping up with the fiery trumpeter. Lanphere played with Woody Herman's Second Herd (1949), Artie Shaw, and the big bands of Claude Thornhill, Charlie Barnet, and Billy May. Unfortunately, drug use soon resulted in his arrest and much of 1951-1981 found Lanphere either running the family music store in Washington...
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Where Do You Start?, Don Lanphere
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