With this classy late-hours soundscape, the seductive stylings of German trumpeter-vocalist Till Bronner will likely elicit comparisons to Chet Baker-and Miles. Indeed, his alluring muted trumpet on the opener, Johnny Mandel's poignant "Where Do You Start," smolders with Davis-esque intensity. For his haunting original, "What Stays," Bronner creates a fog-shrouded film noir scrim against which Chet-like, middle-register boppisms sting like lines delivered by Bogart. As a vocalist, the half-whispered lyrics of "Our Game" reach out and resonate.
What's most striking about Bronner's Verve debut is its consummate good taste. Using intimate settings and almost minimalist means, Bronner makes each and every note count, as in the exotic slow-motion take on "Brazil." Helping cast spells are pianist Frank Chastenier, guitarist Chuck Loeb, bassist Tim Lefebvre, drummer Wolfgang Haffner, and percussionist David Charles. Though smooth, this is not "smooth jazz." Rather, it's jazz lyricism in the tradition of Baker, Davis and Getz distilled to a warmly personalized and rarefied essence.