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Trent Austin | Trumpet 102

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Jazz: Bebop Jazz: Jazz quartet Moods: Instrumental
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Trumpet 102

by Trent Austin

A hard swinging tribute to some of my favorite Trumpeters!
Genre: Jazz: Bebop
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Delfeayo's Dilemma
5:33 $0.99
2. Rollin'
7:26 $0.99
3. Serenade to a Bus Seat
4:28 $0.99
4. Donna Lee
4:07 $0.99
5. Lotus Blossom
4:54 $0.99
6. Stardust
8:02 $0.99
7. Vic Arpeggio
6:57 $0.99
8. Ugetsu
8:00 $0.99
9. The Lick
2:28 $0.99
10. I'll Close My Eyes
6:34 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Thanks for checking out my newest disc! Please consider purchasing this disc as 50% of all proceeds will be donated to local animal shelters/rescue leagues in the Boston area.

Trent Austin Liner Notes by Nick Mondello

Trumpet players are like highwaymen of old; they furtively lurk with their three-valved pistols waiting to make away – and have their way - with the tunes, licks and stylistic embellishments that pass their musical way driven on by the great trumpet masters. However, these brash brass-playing thieves of the night are innocuous, admiring borrowers. They love, admire and respect their victims and give homage by saluting as they pillage them. And, these Robin Hoods are rather generous, too. They love their work and regularly share their booty with us. It’s our bounty, for sure.

Some of the greatest trumpeters ever have taken up this tribute thievery. Recently, the fine trumpeter Brian Lynch recorded Unsung Heroes Vols. 1-3 (Hollistic Music Works, 2011), an unabashed tribute to players that heavily influenced his marvelous playing. Nicholas Payton, Tom Harrell, Lew Soloff and Eddie Henderson, stars all, ganged up on Trumpet Legacy (Milestone, 1999) to salute their various “victims.” Other examples would fill the walls of post offices with WANTED posters.

Frivolity aside, consider this marvelous recording, Trumpet 102, from trumpeter Trent Austin and his terrific “band.” In the most respectful and admiring manner, this under-heralded – except in the oh-so-tight pro trumpet community – Boston-area-based trumpet player gives props to some of the more recent jazz trumpet greats. And, he and his posse deliver their own treasure which, I assure you, will certainly tempt other thieves to act. “Gentlemen and Lady Trumpeters, take up your arms; this nobleman’s coach draws near!”

Equally at home excelling in both jazz and classical settings (that’s no small feat, just ask any trumpeter), Austin here delivers his fourth CD and first full group cut since his well-received Trumpet 101 (K&R Records, 2001) 10-plus years ago. In the interim, he’s recorded two other stellar showcases, a duo effort, Two-toned (K&R Records, 2006) and his free-blowing Meditations for Solo Trumpet (K&R Records, 2009). After listening to Trumpet 102, let’s hope Trumpet 103 or anything from Trent Austin isn’t too far behind coming down the road.

With one unique exception, these classic jazz selections are all drawn from the works of Austin trumpeting influences. Most of them you probably know – take, for example, the poetic Kenny Dorham’s “Lotus Blossom” or Hoagy Carmichael’s every-trumpeter-has-signed-on-to-it, “Stardust.” Some are “inside” classics to the trumpeting cadre – Wynton Marsalis’s “Delfeayo’s Dilemma” and Blue Mitchell’s take on “I’ll Close My Eyes.” Other Austin covers and the players saluted here are less well-known, but, they’re also tied to the fast-fingering fraternity: “Vic Arpeggio” by way of Philadelphia’s fine trumpeter and Lyriconist, John Swana, and Austin’s nod to the recently lost and dearly missed New England trumpeter, Lou Columbo ("Stardust”).

Trent Austin’s pedigree is pure “Best in Show.” He’s played in virtually every style and setting with many – Tony Bennett, Natalie Cole, Clark Terry – you name it. By the way, CT is a significant mentor and influence on TA, as you’ll hear on “The Treasure’s” “Serenade to a Bus Seat.” These two cats share much mutual respect; to give you an idea, I have Clark’s number in my phone. Clark Terry has Trent Austin’s number in his.

Trent is also one of the industry’s go-to types when the equipment geeks need their expert’s sage and trusted counsel. His Austin Custom Brass, located in Malden, Massachusetts, is a must-stop for Beantown and other in-town brass pros. Consistent with trumpeting tradition, he generously shares wisdom through his private teaching, packed-house Master Classes, and active participation on brass-based websites.

Austin told me in a recent interview that his goal in Trumpet 102 was to pay tribute – in his special way – to some of his greatest playing influences. What he didn’t dare tell me was that he was going to place his own significantly wonderful playing “seal” on them and play his tail off. He cops no licks (OK, let’s discount “The Lick, an intriguing free improv duo with drummer Brooke Sofferman derived by way of a viral You Tube “lick flick”), but spins marvelous, intelligently constructed solo lines when stretching out. He plays in startling colors and textures as those lines wizard out the bells of his trumpet and luscious flugelhorn. The guy has total command of his horns – chop-wise, dynamically and creatively. And, he sounds like he’s having a ball doing it.

The ten diverse cuts kick off with a firestarter from the robust Wynton Marsalis Songbook – “Delfeayo’s Dilemma.” Tenor and trumpet light it up on the exotic head and it’s off to Austin’s races. No dilemma here: Austin glides up, down and through the changes with a champion gymnast’s ease. John Leadbetter shows he has no hesitation in his case, either. He’s a perfect foil. Ryan Parker’s keyboard is a real McCoy and Will Slater’s bass and Brook Sofferman drums drive the wagon wildly.

Trent shows that he’s a generous leader, too. He lets his mates fly from the nest at length. Even fellow trumpeter Eric Bloom – himself a fine player – gets to ride shotgun and blow a heavy first solo on Kenny Dorham’s “Lotus Blossom,” channeling Woody Shaw and sharing the solo honors with Austin who follows Eric’s effort with his own fire.

Much can and will be said about Austin’s marvelous trumpet and flugelhorn sound. His “Stardust” take absolutely melts. You’d expect this highwayman to steal your heart, so here there’s no surprise – he does. Trent’s ballad playing effuses with significant lyric beauty, uncanny dynamic nuance, and wads of emotional depth.

John Swana’s “Vic Arpeggio” is cat cool, skipping over a hipper-than-hip head. It’s one thing to stretch out over selections that push the metronome’s envelope – and players’ chops. It’s another thing, and testimony to artistry, to simply “cook” when cool. Austin, Leadbetter and Parker - would you expect anything different with that name? - do so with flair. Slater’s bass solo struts and Sofferman’s brushes and cymbals reign.

“Rollin’,” a neat kitty-ditty written by 15-year-old bassist, Aubrey Harris, is “minor league” neat. The dandy head prowls and all are cool blue. Ms. Harris, by the way, has A-1 pedigree – her Dad is drummer, Les, Jr. and Grandad, Sr. is a Berklee professor. Austin glides high just “necessarily so” after a silk-smooth Parker solo. Bassist Slater and drummer Harris take all home with a soulful hat tip and the “Rollin’” closes with Austin’s screaming “See-ya!”

“The Lick” with Austin and Sofferman spotlit alone is reminiscent of a little-known, but marvelous duo album that Austin mentor Clark Terry recorded with Max Roach (Friends, Columbia, 2002). It was Roach’s last album before his death. No gimmick this; the interplay here between percussives and melodics is a treat – and engaging listening. Austin “caravans” and blisters through Miles Davis’s “Back Home in Indiana”-based “Donna Lee” with a handful of Dizzy Gillespie “high-fives” thrown in, while Harris fends off every parry and thrust with his own brilliant set work.

Since the kid can’t help it as relates a mentor, Austin cops and salutes Clark on Terry’s “Serenade to a Bus Seat,” complete with “Stella by Starlight” sitting right in there, too. Austin’s joy shines bright on this ride. Cedar Walton’s “Ugetsu” delivers a classic swinging Art Blakely message with messenger Austin blowing Hub-tones and an “I Can’t Get Started” cliché thrown in just to show he can. Leadbetter’s masculine tenor blows heavy here. Parker’s solo develops beautifully from gem-like fragments. Will Slater’s bass and Sofferman keep things swirling and driving.

If we might be so bold, Trent and I would suggest you source out the original recordings – or the famous versions of these cuts. But, don’t do it for comparison, because that’s not fair to either past Master or present performer. Rather, do it to also join Austin’s “Merry Men.” You’ll come away with a greater sense of how this talented Boston-area “T” will take and thrill you on his own wonderful journey. Just leave your valuables at home because there will surely be other “thieves”awaiting.

Nick Mondello, trumpeter, freelance writer, and incorrigible thief. May 2012



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