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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Don Mather, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf, Glyn Pursglove


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Arbors Jazz ARCD 19369



1. Old Devil Moon
2. They Can't Take That Away From Me
3. Song For My Father
4. My One and Only Love
5. Change Partners
6. Strollin'
7. Sweet Hunk o' Trash
8. Jubilation
9. Strike Up the Band
10. Caravan
11. We'll Be Together Again

Warren Vaché - Cornet, vocals

John Allred - Trombone

Tardo Hammer - Piano

Nicki Parrott - Bass, vocals

Leroy Williams - Drums.

I was unhappy with Warren Vaché's behaviour at a jazz festival two years ago, when I watched him accompanying singer Annie Ross, and Warren was smoking a cigarette on stage only a few feet away from her. However much I deplore his manners, I can't fault Warren's playing on this CD, recorded in December 2007 at a jazz club in Switzerland. Vaché was teamed with trombonist John Allred and they harmonise seamlessly together, as well as both playing estimable solos. Warren says of John Allred: "There are times when he even matches my vibrato at the end of a note".

They Can't Take That Away From Me is rendered special by delicate touches - like Warren's rising notes at the end of phrases - and by his solo, which is accompanied only by bassist Nicki Parrott - who is a really listening musician. Horace Silver's composition Song For My Father keeps moving along nicely with help from the strong rhythm section. John Allred's solo here is a display of almost unbelievable facility on the trombone, and Tardo Hammer's solo has a Silver sheen.

The two front-line men - Vaché and Allred - get their own features on My One and Only Love and Change Partners respectively - the latter taken at an unusual bossa nova tempo. Strollin' is another Horace Silver tune (not, as you might have thought, the Flanagan & Allen hit) - an easy jaunt which suits the soloists' fertile invention. Sweet Hunk o' Trash has cheeky singing from Nicki Parrott, with spoken interpolations from Warren Vaché, after which they swap vocal roles. There is a beboppish tinge to Warren's cornet solo here and in the following Jubilation (written by Junior Mance), where Allred's trombone is again noteworthy.

Strike Up the Band returns us to mainstream swing, with Vaché reminding the listener of Ruby Braff (although his tone is generally lower than Ruby's). Pianist Tardo Hammer appears slightly uncomfortable with the fast tempo but drummer Leroy Williams sounds relaxed in his solo. The two hornmen then play contrapuntally, unaccompanied. Caravan is taken at an unconventionally slow tempo, but this avoids the tune sounding hurried - as it often does. Williams again takes a laid-back solo - this time on the tomtoms. A leisurely We'll be Together Again makes a suitable closer, although Vaché's vocals (however brief) are mediocre.

This is not a particularly outstanding album but it is very acceptable nonetheless.

Tony Augarde




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