Jack Sheldon

It's What I Do

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Not every album that Jack Sheldon recorded in the '90s or 2000s is worth owning, but the veteran trumpeter is in fine form on It's What I Do. This 74-minute CD was released on Sheldon's Los Angeles-based Butterfly label in 2007; unfortunately, no recording date is listed. But we do know that Sheldon turned 76 on November 30, 2007, and it obvious that the veteran trumpeter's chops have held up well over the years. Sheldon doesn't do any singing on It's What I Do; the album is totally instrumental, and Sheldon leads a small acoustic group that is billed as the California Cool Quartet and includes pianist Joe Bagg, bassist Bruce Lett, and drummer Dick Weller. Sheldon excels throughout the bop/cool jazz disc, embracing well-known standards by Thelonious Monk ("Well, You Needn't"), Charlie Parker ("Yardbird Suite," "Steeplechase") and John Coltrane ("Naima") as well as Billy Strayhorn ("Chelsea Bridge"). Sheldon also includes no less than four standards that were written or co-written by Miles Davis ("Milestones," "Freddy Freeloader," "Four," and "Seven Steps to Heaven"), and the inclusion of so many Davis gems is highly appropriate given that Davis was among Sheldon's early influences as a trumpeter. It would have been nice if Sheldon hadn't favored such an all-warhorses-all-the-time policy on this album and surprised us with some gems that haven't been beaten to death over the years; regardless, It's What I Do is impressively consistent. There are no weak moments on this rewarding, if predictable, addition to Sheldon's catalog.

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