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Stripling Now!

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Album Review

For many years, Byron Stripling has been a lead trumpeter for the Count Basie, Woody Herman, and Lionel Hampton big bands, so it's about time he led his own session. He's got a talented backup trio with emerging pianist Bill Charlap, who is an enormous asset on this CD all the way through, solid bassist Peter Washington, and Basie drummer Dennis Mackrel. Alto saxophonist Dave Glasser and tenor great Frank Wess appear on select tracks, Glasser doing some arranging. The music typically ranges from mainstream swing to bop, with some blues and ballads sprinkled in, but it's spiced with the leader's fiery edge.

Stripling is as impressive a trumpeter as there is out there today. He possesses a clear enthusiasm, a finely honed melodic concept, and a fearless, brash sense of tone and timing. This is evident from the get-go on "Greasy Livin'," one of his three originals for the date. It's a blues groove where he growls a little, with Glasser's alto chirpin' back. His dedication to his daughter on "Juliette's Holiday" is an easy yet charged blues swinger with more trumpet-alto chatter, and he sings on "Tired of Pretty Women" with the laugh-out-loud line "keep your Slim Fast mama, just give me one with beef and brew." There's a distinct Gillespie-Parker feel to "Rebop" and "Glasstronic," both written by Glasser, while Wess comes up big with the other two on the good, hot swinger "I Want to Be Happy," the real easy swinger "If I Had You," and a feature for the veteran tenor man on "Yesterdays," his thoroughly original, pining solo line slightly quoting "Sweet & Lovely." Another Glasser number, "Basie & Bean," liberally quotes "I Want to Be Happy" and "Get Happy," while the other of Stripling's vocals, "East of the Sun," shows a definite Nat King Cole-cum-Jimmy Rushing influence. Considering he's 38, this date is way overdue. Stripling and this band are at the top of their game, and it's hard to imagine them playing any better. Glasser is a particularly pleasant surprise, perhaps the next Phil Woods? ~ Michael G. Nastos, Rovi

Stripling Now!, Byron Stripling
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  • $7.99
  • Genres: Jazz, Music
  • Released: Sep 14, 1999

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