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Tony Lujan: Tribute

Tony Lujan plays with a sense of melody that owes a bit to his mentor, Clark Terry, as well as a bright tone similar to Freddie Hubbard’s. So it comes as no surprise that both musicians are among the slew of bop trumpeters whose tunes fill Lujan’s Tribute (Bella), along with Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Woody Shaw, Lee Morgan and Kenny Dorham. Surprises do come with the arrangements, however, which cast the songs in Latin rhythms, bolstered by three percussionists. Lujan, who arranged five of the nine tracks, has a good ear for this exercise, and he doesn’t sacrifice harmonies in favor of the groove. The melody of Davis’ “Nardis” sounds even more exotic when played against a salsa rhythm. Hubbard’s “Intrepid Fox” and Clifford Brown’s “Daahoud” also create quite a bit of fire. Outside of two songs with weak string arrangements, Lujan’s “Forever My Love” and Clark Terry’s “Sheba,” the only problem on Tribute is the brevity of the solos. With Conrad Herwig (trombone), Yosvany Terry (tenor sax) and Miguel Zenon (alto sax) joining Lujan out front, it’s rare that any of these strong horn players get more than a chorus per song, which limits the energy of their performances.

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