Brian Lynch: Unsung Heroes: A Tribute to Some Underappreciated Trumpet Masters, Vols. 1 and 2 (Hollistic MusicWorks)
Recent jazz rarely swings or sings with the fire and verve of these straight-ahead sessions. Grammy-winner Brian Lynch, Milwaukee’s greatest baby-boomer gift to jazz, has trumpeted for such iconic names as Horace Silver, Art Blakey, Phil Woods and Toshiko Akiyoshi.
With scholarly artfulness, Lynch mines compositions from unheralded trumpeters. He conducts serious investigations of their now-cold cases, like a detective with enough of a criminal mind to always get his man. Howard McGhee’s floating “Sandy” pinpricks the soul with the sad majesty of memory. Idrees Sulieman’s “Short Steps” enchants while demonstrating how intervals shape melody and harmonic motion. Suddenly you hear Lynch’s own “Marissa’s Mood” (dedicated to Ira Sullivan)—a more complex weave of changes and rhythmic phrasing—and understand how composers appeal, with the deftest strokes, to our head and our heart.
Lynch’s solo and the ensuing ensemble carry the romantic torch like a handful of dancing long-stemmed roses. The “heroes” add up to a substantial and satisfying reassessment of hard-bop history.