Valery Ponomarev

Live at Vartan Jazz

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The hard bop trumpeter Valery Ponomarev, who was always most inspired by Clifford Brown and Lee Morgan, is in excellent form on this 1995 outing. However, the recording quality is just OK in spots, leading to a slightly lower rating than the music deserves. Ponomarev is teamed with drummer Ben Riley and three lesser-known players -- the fine tenor Francesco Bearsetti, pianist Sid Simmons and bassist Kenny Walker. With the exception of "Autumn in New York" and Kenny Dorham's "N.Y. Theme," all nine selections are the trumpeter's originals. The music swings and is well played, making this small-label release worth acquiring by straight-ahead jazz fans who already have Ponomarev's Reservoir releases.

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