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Richie Vitale: The Richie Vitale Quintet

This album, trumpeter Vitale’s second on the Swiss-based TCB label, is a throwback to the ’50s and early ’60s. I wouldn’t consider it retro-jazz or repertory jazz in the current sense of those terms; it’s more like a living tradition passed along by some players who arrived at the end of those days and found sustenance therein. Vitale’s trumpet, heard for the last five years with Frank Sinatra and Frank, Jr., is spare and soulful in the tradition of Kenny Dorham. Lalama’s tenor, baptized in the big band fires of Herman, Rich, and Thad Jones-Mel Lewis, is reminiscent at times of Hank Mobley.

Though not nationally known, the rhythm section of pianist Tardo Hammer, bassist Paul Gill and drummer Taro Okamoto is solid and buoyant. Their groove suggests the early Horace Silver quintets, especially on Vitale’s funky “Fuji Mama.” Other tunes include the standards “Sweet And Lovely,” “Just One Of Those Things” (check this for mastery at a bright tempo), and “Time On My Hands.” These and others are all performed with much warmth, love, and skill. Recommended.

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