Marcus Printup: A Time for Love

On the cover of A Time for Love, Marcus Printup is pictured holding his trumpet in one hand while resting the other on the neck of a harp. Wondering what sets this collection of pop standards apart from innumerable other collections? Look no further.

Nothing about the music, however, smacks of novelty or cloying sentimentality. Printup’s cohesive and resourceful trio with harpist Riza Hequibal and bassist Kengo Nakamura recasts and rekindles a string of romantic ballads with a lean mixture of lyricism and swing. In choosing the tunes, Printup looked to some of his favorite trumpeters for inspiration, and as a result there are brass tributes galore, including pieces composed by (or associated with) Kenny Dorham, Clifford Brown, Freddie Hubbard and Lee Morgan. Bookending the nine tunes are performances of “Blue Bossa” and “It Might as Well Be Spring” that illustrate the album’s melodic allure and sparkling trio chemistry as well as any. Printup imbues the former ballad with soulful lyricism and a restless spirit, over rippling arpeggios and guitarlike accompaniment, before his sessionmates stretch out, creating the first of several colorful complementary interludes.

The latter tune, played in free time and accommodating plenty of open space, brings the album to a tender, haunting close. In between, there’s much to enjoy: “I Remember Clifford,” for instance, with its long trumpet tones and elegiac aura; “Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered,” which finds Printup on flugelhorn and occasionally evoking shades of Art Farmer; and an insinuating, slow-burn rendition of “Song for My Father.”