Stripling Now!, a sextet date, should open quite a few ears to its leader. The trumpeter has a winning way on each cut, from the opening "Greasy Livin'," a plunger-muted blues, to his direct, clear-toned interpretation of "I Can't Get Started." He even sings; his masculine ballad sound on "East of the Sun" is no throwaway. On cuts such as "I Want to Be Happy," "Rebop" and "Glasstronic" he and alto man Dave Glasser show fine bebop chops (a la Diz and Bird). There's a swinging connection in the jumping "Basie and Bean" and also in the album personnel: Glasser, veteran tenor saxophonist Frank Wess and drummer Dennis Mackrel are all former Basieites. Pianist Bill Charlap and bassist Peter Washington round out the group.
Stripling is a convincing ensemble player and soloist in each genre. Neither he nor his sidemen sound dated. This is a good one to buy for your trumpet-playing friends.