Vaughn Nark's high-note theatrics on trumpet follow the path of Roy Eldridge, Dizzy Gillespie, Cat Anderson, and Jon Faddis, though he tries to keep it all in perspective, for the most part. This former Airmen of Note member is making a name for himself now. The contemporary setting of Nat Adderley's "Work Song" may not appeal to hard bop or soul-jazz fans, but his funky treatment manages to work. He mixes it up with alto saxophonist Pete Barrenbregge and trombonist Dave Steinmeyer (both of whom are former Airmen of Note directors) in a swinging treatment of "Lullaby of Broadway." Nark's warm vocals in "I've Got a Crush on You" prove to be an added bonus, backed by lush strings and the rhythm section. His subtle approach to Dizzy Gillespie's "Birks Works" is tantalizing, showcasing tenor saxophonist Peter Fraize's smoking solo. Nark's stratospheric chops return with his pulsating solo introduction to "All Blues," though the funky arrangement is a bit of a disappointment. The pairing of his trumpet and guitarist Dave Marsh (with just a smidgen of percussion) in the ballad "Cavatina" is pure magic. But the high-note gimmick finally wears a bit thin in "Over the Rainbow." One last surprise is an infrequently performed gem by Kenny Barron, "Trinidad Goodbye," which Gillespie first recorded in the mid-'60s when Barron was his pianist. As on many Summit CDs, the musicians may not exactly be household names, but you won't know it from their results.
Panorama: Trumpet Prism Review
by Ken Dryden