Monday, October 21, 2013

Album Review: A Kansas City Trumpet Summit

A void that remains unfilled was created when KCUR's weekly show "Just Jazz" ended its long run in 2005.   Co-hosts Ginney Coleman and Ruth Rhoden valued swing above all else.  Their unwavering advocacy of locally-produced mainstream jazz is sorely missed.

The women would have almost certainly championed A Kansas City Trumpet Summit as one of the most important albums to emerge from the regional scene in years.  Gorgeous even on the uptempo selections, the project is unflaggingly tasteful.

The showcase for Stan Kessler, Hermon Mehari and Mike Metheny doesn't feature fiery battles.  Instead, it's an elegant exercise in cooperation.  Pianist T.J. Martley, bassist Gerald Spaits and drummer Brian Steever provide support.

The liner notes of the CD indicate the order of solos, but anyone who's logged much time in Kansas City's jazz venues won't need to consult them.  Each man has a clearly defined approach.  (The distinction is made even clearer when Metheny picks up his EVI.)

The playing is uniformly impeccable.  In fact, the absence of grit is a bit disarming.  The flawless sheen of the production may disappoint anyone who prefers a greasier sound.  Even a version of Jimmy Smith's "Back at the Chicken Shack" is as clean as a whistle.  The production and the material align on the ballads.  The Metheny feature "For Parkville," the album's closing track, is rapturously beautiful.

It's a shame that Ginney and Ruth aren't around to broadcast the good word. 


Timothy said...

If its not a greasy sound it must have been recorded at Soundtrek. No disrespect to Soundtrek but it is a notoriously polite sound. Maybe I'm wrong. Tim

bgo said...

I miss Ginney and Ruth. They were regulars at The Music Exchange and would spend a long time scouring the jazz section. They sure were an odd couple when you'd see them in person.