Valery Ponomarev

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The Reservoir label debuted with this excellent effort from trumpeter Valery Ponomarev, who was making his first recording as a leader. Five years earlier he had ended a nearly four-year stay with Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, and although he never seems to receive the fame he deserved, Ponomarev since then has been one of the top Clifford Brown-inspired hard bop trumpeters around. On this set, Ponomarev teams up with tenor saxophonist Ralph Moore, Japanese pianist Hideki Takao (who filled in for the briefly ill guitarist Kevin Eubanks and surprised everyone by his superior playing), bassist Dennis Irwin and drummer Kenny Washington. Six of the trumpeter's mostly straight-ahead originals are performed, along with "I Remember Clifford," and the music should please hard bop collectors.

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