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Randy Sandke: Awakening

Perhaps the most stylistically flexible of all contemporary trumpeters, the richly full-toned Randy Sandke has by now demonstrated in a wide variety of settings his command of virtually all of the standard flavors of jazz, from traditional New Orleans/Chicago and classic Swing through post-loop. But this recording exposes even further the compass within his grasp. Besides playing flawlessly on every track throughout this varied presentation, Sandke also orchestrated his own and others’ compositions for the Bulgarian National Symphony, its Brass Quintet, and his own electronic Trio and bop Quintet. The album opens quite impressively with the long-awaited orchestral debut of Bix Beiderbecke’s heretofore unrecorded “lost” piano composition, “Cloudy,” as scored with original augmentations by Sandke. Following this are his own “Orphic Mystery,” an Ellington/Strayhorn medley of “A Flower Is A Lovesome Thing,” “Lotus Blossom” and “Azalea,” the Brass Quintet’s “Fugue State I, II,” and the orchestra’s “Overture For The Year 2000,” “Remembrance” and “The Unanswered Question,” a Charles Ives composition from 1906.

Recorded in 1987 with tenorman Gerry Niewood, Jim McNeely, Mike Richmond, and Kenny Washington, Sandke’s “Persistence” and “Sea Change” sandwich the title tune, which is performed by trumpet, synthesizer, and drums. The final track is an a capella trumpet solo on “Prelude To A Kiss,” on which Sandke improvises in a harmonic style he calls “metatonal,” the full explanation of which will emerge in a manual scheduled for publication later this year.

Originally Published