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A Star For You

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Album Review

Valeri Ponomarev, one of the most underrated trumpeters in jazz, has a style based in the hard bop tradition of Clifford Brown, Lee Morgan and Freddie Hubbard, yet he keeps an open mind toward newer developments. On this CD, he is teamed with tenor saxophonist Bob Berg (whose soulful post-bop style has long been influenced by Michael Brecker), the little-known but talented Philadelphia-based pianist Sid Simmons, bassist Ken Walker, and drummer Billy Hart. The quintet performs six of the trumpeter's tricky yet swinging originals and a reharmonized rendition of "We'll Be Together Again." Ponomarev's very impressive range (hitting high notes with little difficulty), full sound and inventive ideas clearly inspire his sidemen. Berg puts plenty of passion into his solos, and Simmons makes one wish that he were recorded more extensively. Easily recommended to modern straight-ahead jazz collectors.

Biography

Born: 20 January 1943 in Moscow, Russia

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

The first major Russian jazz musician to make an impression in the United States, Valery Ponomarev has always had an attractive tone, a swinging style, and a strong interest in keeping the hard bop legacy of Clifford Brown alive. He played as regularly as possible in the Soviet Union, recording for the Melodiya label and appearing at jazz festivals until defecting in 1973. Four years later, he joined Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, a perfect outlet for his style, from 1977-1980; he recorded nine...
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A Star For You, Valery Ponomarev
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