Guy Barker Quintet plus Frank Ricotti|Holly J

Trumpeter Barker is on imperious form, as he so often is on record. Live in clubs, a combination of audience pressure and long working hours can strain his lip, but in the studio he’s relaxed and confident, his tone brassy and full, and his notes never in danger of splitting. There’s a moment during ‘It Never Entered My Mind’ when he hits a high “A” and holds it forever, much as Miles did on his epic My Funny Valentine concert of 1964. Rebello and Laurence, clearly aware of that masterpiece, do the Hancock-Carter things perfectly behind him. Rebello solos impressively throughout and his stylish and supportive comping is something lesser players could study. Laurence’s blistering walking speed and solo facility will surprise those who have never heard him live, while Tracey’s crisp rim-shots go further back than Tony Williams to the great Philly Joe Jones. Today Barker and Tracey’s names remain prominent on today’s jazz schedules while the others ply more lucrative careers. Rebello tours with pop-stars while vibist Ricotti and multi-reed wizard Hitchcock are all-purpose session men extraordinaire who only occasionally emerge from the studios to terrify young players at some Sunday-lunchtime blow. Jack Massarik

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