RED RODNEY
              Live at the Village Vanguard

                 Recording Date:
                     May 8-9, July 5, 1980

                     Red Rodney    TP,FG
                     Ira Sullivan     SS,TS,FT,FG

                     Garry Dial       P
                     Paul Berner     B
                     Tom Whaley   D


Review By Jim Santella
The first time on CD, the reissue of Red Rodney’s 1980 sessions at The Village Vanguard marks the beginning of his comeback and finds the leader’s trumpet work in fine form. Two experienced horn players and a young rhythm section made for a strong program with hard bop drama and pure musical ballad sentiment. In the liner notes, Rodney states, "I was determined to associate myself with young musicians in order to move ahead with the music of today."
Ira Sullivan picks up the flugelhorn as Red Rodney carefully interweaves muted trumpet lines around Johnny Mandel’s "A Time For Love." And they both opt for flugelhorns on "What Can We Do" with Sullivan coming from the right channel, Rodney from the left. Again on the final track, the two seasoned veterans perform together on trumpet and flugelhorn. Jack Walrath, who wrote half the tunes on this program, contributed much to Rodney’s band library over the years. It’s Walrath’s "Come Home to Red" that allows the leader to pour his open trumpet sound over the room (backed by Sullivan’s gentle flute fills) as a reminder that one of his earliest influences was Harry James. After a long career with several disturbing setbacks, it’s nice to remember that Red Rodney succeeded in the end by passing the torch on triumphantly to the next generation.

Reviewby Scott Yanow
In 1980, trumpeter Red Rodney teamed up with multi-instrumentalist Ira Sullivan to form a modern jazz quintet. Their appearances at the Village Vanguard resulted in three LPs for Muse (and six over a two-year period), all of which will hopefully be reissued on CD someday. Rodney was inspired in the setting, which featured recent originals rather than bop standards; Sullivan (heard on soprano, tenor, flute, and flügelhorn) gained some publicity for his underrated skills; and young pianist Garry Dial (heard here along with bassist Paul Berner and drummer Tom Whaley) had an opportunity not only to play, but to write as well. On this album, the quintet performs three tricky pieces by trumpeter Jack Walrath, a couple of recent obscurities, and Johnny Mandel's "A Time for Love." Stimulating music.

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