MIKE JOYCE - The Washington Post
Sunday, June 13, 2004

Vaughn Nark is cut from the same bolt as Maynard Ferguson and Jon Faddis, trumpeters capable of commanding the high ground with great verve and precision. So it's hardly news that "Panorama" has its share of fireworks, such as the flaring cadenzas that open "Over the Rainbow" and "All Blues." Turn up the volume and you just might disturb the neighborhood kennel.

Certainly those who've grown fond of Nark's skywriting flair will enjoy his take on "Work Song," and a red-hot, white and blue version of "America" offers similar pleasures. An Airmen of Note alum, Nark joins several of his military-band buddies on the patriotic anthem, moving from blues to flag-waver at the album's close.

Yet as its title suggests, "Panorama" offers a broad view of Nark's musical interests and switch-hitting talents -- he also plays fluegelhorn, baritone horn and valve trombone here. Particularly enjoyable is "Cavatina," a minor-key film theme from "The Deer Hunter." Quietly collaborating with Rick Whitehead on acoustic guitar, Nark uses his flugelhorn to imbue the melody with a soulful melancholy. Another comparatively low-key highlight is "Lullaby of Broadway," which features Nark, trombonist Dave Steinmeyer and alto saxist Pete BarenBregge nimbly making their way through an engagingly lighthearted arrangement. Likewise, the strings-enhanced "Crush on You," which boasts Nark's romantic croon and pianist Wade Beach's melodic touch, offers a sharp contrast to the extroverted jazz-funk-rock-Latin excursions -- performances that capitalize on the contributions made by reedmen Tim Eyermann and Peter Fraize, bassist Tom Williams, drummer Keith Kilgo and arranger Mike Crotty, among others.

Appearing Tuesday at Blues Alley.

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