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Greg Glassman: Onward and Upward

Time to fast forward to tomorrow, and no better album title can be found than Onward and Upward (Soluna), Greg Glassman’s debut CD (unless you count an octet recording, The Perfect Match, he wrote, arranged and produced in ’99, with Jane Monheit singing the title tune). Whatever, the 26-year-old Glassman has already accumulated impressive musical and academic credentials.

He’s played with all the right contemporary cats from Frank Lacy to Roswell Rudd; he’s got a B.A. in jazz trumpet and African-American music and a master’s in jazz performance. His quartet is a polished, high-energy hotbed of modernism that’s thoroughly tonal. Glassman is an unabashed romantic, opting for slower and lower, which suits his writing, particularly on “Man Among Men” and “May Day,” an intriguing chart (Greg did all the arrangements) with guest vibist Bryan Carrott generally a fourth below the trumpeter’s lead. “Rowe Chapel Hymn” is a rubato showcase for Carrott. The other guest, tenor Donald Walden, is impressive on “Middle Passage.” On the one standard, “If I Had You” (just trumpet and piano), Glassman, rather than going onward and upward, is laid-backward. Glassman’s fine regulars are keyboardist Dave Pier, bassist Danton Boller and drummer Quincy Davis.

Originally Published