Nicholas Payton/Lew Soloff/Tom Harell/Eddie Henderson: Trumpet Legacy

Although not as common as recorded colloquys among stylistically related saxophonists, there is nevertheless a similar tradition of trumpeters that goes back to at least 1944, when Roy Eldridge, Joe Thomas, and Emmett Berry combined their severally directed voices to produce a session still noted for its remarkable cohesion. Many changes in the language of jazz have been wrought since then, and especially so in the diction of trumpeters, who by and large are now far better equipped technically than their predecessors. Here, for example, we have four of today’s best players-Payton, Soloff, Harrell, and Henderson-immersing themselves in variously manned and numbered combinations and solo pieces, so as to offer tributes to such earlier pacesetters and role models as Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, Kenny Dorham, Fats Navarro, Clifford Brown, Lee Morgan, and Chet Baker. Alternately buoyed and propelled by Mulgrew Miller, Peter Washington, and Carl Allen, Payton and the others each display enough variety in tone and phrasing so as to forestall either identity confusion or sonic ennui.