March 1999

Marcus Printup
Nocturnal Traces
Blue Note Records

Since what seem like ages-ago sightings at the Monk Competition, and later at the Jacksonville Jazz Festival, where he played at the side of the stage in deference to some fluffy smooth jazz outfit scheduled to follow his band, trumpeter Marcus Printup's growth arc has been impressive. Last time out he was paying homage to Freddie Hubbard, with fellow Blue Noter Tim Hagans. This time, save for the smoldering "Freddie's Inferno", in tribute to the master, it's all about Marcus. The band is his regular crew, including Kevin Bales on piano, Ricky Ravelo on bass, and Woody Williams on drums. The comfort level Printup feels is obvious from the jump.

Throughout this disc there is a palpable joy and fatness in his sound, for which one need listen no further than his buoyant treatment of "Have You Met Miss Jones." The program strikes a fine balance between standards and Printup's tunes, yet some of his most telling statements are made on the former. Check out his soulful version of "Black Coffee," for example, with trumpet tone sufficiently broadened to address the blue nuances of the familiar tune. Throughout, Marcus Printup is bubbling with energy and controlled passion, and a tip of the hat also to his rompin' stompin' drummer, Williams, who has lit many a bandstand down Atlanta way.

Originally published in March 1999
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