VAUGHN NARK: "SOMETHIN' SPECIAL"
MIKE JOYCE - The Washington Post
Friday, September 11, 1998 ; Page N16
Brace yourself. Vaughn Nark is the sort of jazz trumpeter
for whom not even the sky is the limit. When his horn soars
above double C on his new album, as it often does with exacting
precision and blazing flourish, the notes seem Heaven-bound,
so much so that perhaps even the trumpet-toting angel Gabriel
may feel a slight twinge of envy.
In Nark's hands, the song is seldom the same. For instance,
the album's opening track, "Softly as in a Morning Sunrise,"
comes across as a brash wake-up call. Opening with a electrifying
trumpet cadenza, the arrangement is booted along by a vigorous
rhythm section (propelled by drummer Keith Killgo) and colored
by Nark's deft doubling on valve trombone and Peter Fraize's
full-throated tenor saxophone. Other surprises include "Fiesta
Mojo," a Dizzy Gillespie romp during which Nark salutes (and
liberally quotes from) the great trumpeter, and "Tanga," another
Gillespie homage, this one shaded in subtle and soulful harmonies.
Here and elsewhere, the performances are enhanced by several
talented musicians, including saxophonist-flutist Tim Eyermann,
saxophonist Saul Miller, pianist Fred Hughes, guitarist Rick
Whitehead, bassist Tom Williams and percussionist Alfredo Mojica.
While "Somethin' Special" will certainly appeal to fans of
Gillespie, as well as admirers of such high-flying trumpeters
as Jon Faddis, Arturo Sandoval and Doc Severinsen, Nark also
evokes memories of Chet Baker's introverted vocal style on a
couple of ballads that provide him -- and us -- with a well-served
Appearing Monday at Blues Alley.
To hear a free Sound Bite from Vaughn Nark, call Post-Haste
at 202/334-9000 and press 8125. (Prince William residents, call
Cutline: Jazz trumpeter Vaughn Nark's high notes will
hit the heavens Monday when he blows into Blues Alley.
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