"When Vaughn Nark blows his trumpet,
Gabriel must look down with a measure of envy. This recording, Nark's
first major release, features the fiery musician in a tour de force program
of jazz classics, many peppered with his trademark searing trumpet cadenzas.
Check out the opening lines of "Softly as in a Morning Sunrise,"
and the "A" above double "C" on "My Funny Valentine,"
a cooking arrangement that Nark also sings with conviction. For sheer
energy, give a listen to Bird's "Billie's Bounce," and enjoy
convincing solos from Tim Eyermann (flute, alto), Peter Fraize (tenor),
Tom Williams (bass) and Fred Hughes (keyboards), with Keith Killgo dynamic
"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, "Softy 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 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 breather."
NARK, BLOWING AUDIENCE AWAY - Mike Joyce-Washington Post
"Jazz Royalty" Concert - Keri Gunter -Brigham Young Univ - Hawaii