COMPOSERS: Marcus Printup
LABELS: Nagel Heyer
PERFORMER: Marcus Printup (t), Wycliffe Gordon (tb), Walter Blanding (ts), George Colligan, Eric Lewis (p), Vicente Archer (b), Donald Edwards (d)
CATALOGUE NO: 2019
Printup emerged with two Blue Note albums in the Nineties, but those have disappeared and this new excursion for Nagel Heyer is a fresh start for the trumpeter from Georgia. One problem with the earlier discs was a shortage of strong material, and Printup’s seven themes here remedy that at once.
From the beginning, ‘The Bullet Train’ is a ferocious blues with a requirement for the bassist to play the same figure throughout, and the tendency for the players to play to a strut rhythm edges over into most of the pieces. What comes out is often akin to a brainy kind of soul-jazz, softened by Printup’s own rather romantic tone, then buoyed up again by the feel-good time which Archer and Edwards bring to even lyrical themes such as ‘Sardinian Princess’.
It helps that the leader can call on the services of several colleagues from the Lincoln Center gang: Gordon proves again that he’s the boss trombonist of the moment, with stunning plunger-mute work on ‘The Weeping Prince’, and Blanding’s tenor is a beautifully dark, finely-felt voice.
Plus the bonus of George Colligan, a pocket genius at the piano, who shares keyboard duties with Eric Lewis across the session. A strong comeback for a figure who once looked to have lost his way. Richard Cook