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Ryan Kisor: Battle Cry

At 24, Ryan Kisor is one of the best young trumpeters in New York. Since winning the Monk Competition at 18, Kisor has played with the Mingus Big Band, the Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center Jazz and Vanguard Orchestras, developing his craft and an energetic, original voice.

Battle Cry is his call to action and joined by a smokin’ organ trio, that includes drummer Brian Blade, guitarist Peter Bernstein, and Sam Yahel, Kisor is ready to burn down the house. He does! The level of craft here is exceedingly high, aided by a rhythm section that strikes an unusually deep groove. Yahel is a 26-year-old master of the Hammond B-3 whose group always delights at Small’s, a Greenwich Village club where the jam sessions run all night. Bernstein and Blake (sounds like a comedy team) are also up to the task here, locking up as a rhythm section and tasty in solos.

Yet Kisor is truly the star here. He plays standards like “Falling in Love With Love” and “If Ever I Would Leave You” with fresh abandon and “I’m Old Fashioned” with haunting beauty. His reharmonization of “It Could Happen to You,” “It Happens” is refreshingly ingenious. As Art Blakey used to say, Ryan Kisor really knows his way around the horn and always sends a message home.

Originally Published