Trumpets Eleven is Michael Davis' eighth recording as a leader. It is comprised of ten original compositions that were written and especially tailored to showcase the talents of 11 of the finest trumpet players in the world. Their dynamic improvisations are what make this recording a real gem for lovers of brass instrumentation, funk-flavored swing, hard bop, and up-tempo grooves. The award-winning and immensely talented Davis plays both the tenor and bass trombones on the program that opens with "Permit Required." Eddie Henderson's trumpet performance is superior in all registers (muted or not) on this burning up-tempo composition. Michael Davis is served well with the talent of Randy Brecker on "C to Z," and by such respected musicians as Alan Pasqua on piano, Dave Carpenter on bass, and Will Kennedy on drums. The variety of jazz styles continue with the beautiful ballad "Blue Day," on which Chris Botti and Phil Smith are spotlighted in tandem. Further, Davis adds a bucket mute to his bass trombone and turns in a sterling performance. This is by far one of the best songs on the CD. With such great players as drummer Jeff Ballard laying down his carpet of sound and pianist Phil Markowitz contributing his key testimony, Scott Wendholt offers some of his best work on "San Jose." His freedom in the groove is both exciting and entertaining, as is Davis' superb trombone solo. All of their superb brass performances and top-notch rhythmic accompaniment should entice you to make Trumpets Eleven a "must add" to your jazz on brass collection.
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AllMusic Review by Paula Edelstein