Friday, April 22, 2011

Brian Lynch: Unsung Heroes

Holistic Music Works
By Ric Bang
Buy CD: Unsung Heroes

Musical giants often are identified by single names. Alternatively, scores of sidemen — who have played and recorded with everybody — aren’t recognized at all. In the category of jazz trumpet, we all know Pops (Louis Armstrong), Roy (Eldridge), Miles (Davis), Dizzy (Gillespie), Fats (Navarro) and others ... but what about Brian Lynch?

He’s a Grammy Award winner, and has played with Art Blakey, Horace Silver, Benny Golson, Phil Woods, Toshiko Akiyoshi and Eddie Palmieri. Despite this, many folks aren’t familiar with Lynch.

But you won’t forget him, after hearing this album.

Unsung Heroes is Lynch’s tribute to artists who, in his view, are underappreciated. How many of us recognize trumpet players Howard Mcghee, Charles Tolliver, Joe Gordon, Tommy Turrentine, Idrees Sulleman, Louis Smith, Kamau Adilifu, Ira Sullivan, Donald Byrd and Claudio Roditi? This release attempts to remedy that situation. Some of its tunes were composed by the above artists; the rest were composed by Lynch and dedicated to them.

Lynch fronts a septet that consists of his trumpet and flugelhorn, alto and tenor saxes, piano, bass and percussionists. In keeping with the album’s theme, these sidemen also aren’t well known, but they have one thing in common: Regardless of tempo, they swing like crazy!

Louis Smith’s “Wetu,” in particular, is an up-tempo bop burner that’s on par with the best that Charlie Parker and Dizzy ever recorded; it’ll leave you breathless. The rest, styled for the days of bop-tinged, straight-ahead jazz, also are winners.

This album is a joy, and I hope I don’t have to wait too long for follow-up Unsung Heroes entries!

No comments: