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Byron Stripling: Byron, Get One Free

Trumpeter/vocalist Byron Stripling would have been the perfect choice for a Louis Armstrong celebration, as he can conjure up the spirit of Satchmo as well as anyone, while still maintaining his own identity. His latest is Byron, Get One Free (Nagel-Heyer 2016; 60:19) and it finds him playing unaccompanied counterpoint with trombonist Wycliffe Gordon on “Indiana,” exploring a loping and adventurous Mike Mossman arrangement of “Con Alma,” engaging pianist Bill Charlap in duet on “I’m Old Fashioned” and revving up the engines on “Frank’s Magic,” which features five choruses by the elegantly swinging Frank Wess. The best piece may well be the title track, a long, slow soft-shoe of a blues where all the soloists get off on the stop-time breaks and the trumpet eventually opens up and calls all the children home.

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