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Warren Vache Quintet: Warren Plays Warren

In the more than 20 years that cornetist Warren Vache has been in the forefront of the mainstream jazz scene, there has never been any question that, as a stylist, he was his own man. In that sense, then, Warren has always played Warren. Given the present context, though, that seeming redundancy can easily be discounted by reference to the material itself, namely, the songs of Harry Warren, demonstrably one of Hollywood’s most prolific composers from the early ’30s on. A retiring man not given to public life or celebrity, Warren is far less known than many of his colleagues, but that is in no way a reflection on the quality of his work, only an iceberg-tip of which is presented here.

Vache is joined in this project by the equally formidable trumpeter, Randy Sandke, a slightly younger member of the same stylistically related fraternity that embraces the total tradition from Louis and Bix through Roy, Bunny, and Hackett through Dizzy, Miles and Brownie. No type of swinging jazz is alien to either, and both are masters of their respective instruments, the timbres of which are so easily distinguishable from one another as to require no play-by-play descriptions. Suffice it to say that although these two have shared many a concert bandstand together over the years, this is their first recording in tandem. Supporting them with both alacrity and empathy of intent are pianist Kenny Drew, Jr., acoustic bassist Murray Wall, and drummer Jimmy Cobb, the sturdy foundation of other many combos before this.

Included among the 16 Sandke-arranged tracks are a lot of familiar Warren standards, some long neglected gems, and one of the trumpeter’s originals, the Ellington-tinged “Blues Times 2,” but, apart from the tunes themselves, it is the performance of them that makes this recording so valuable.

Originally Published