Saturday, October 6, 2012

Allen Vizzutti Ritzville VPM 2012

There seems to be some stiff competition among certain trumpet players these days, at least when it comes to ego. While some players spend the better part of their career tooting their own horn instead of playing it, Allen Vizzutti is about to release RITZVILLE on October 16th which firmly establishes his gift as one of the most versatile and respected trumpet players working today. Real talent is shown through a body of work, not through self promotional advertisements. Vizzutti has performed in both the jazz and classical fields and his credibility is certainly not in question when he has such luminaries as Stanley Clarke and Chick Corea join him on this most dynamic of releases.
RITZVILLE is a musical smorgasbord containing fusion with attitude, string orchestrations and acoustic ballads. Vizzutti was concerned there may be too much variety but even when crossing stylistic genres there is a distinct ebb and flow that is a mirror image of the tremendous talent of this most in demand trumpeter/composer. Vizzutti's work as a leader has been somewhat limited simply due to his work as a performer and educator not to forget his four year stint with Chick Corea and his early days with Woody Herman's big band. Vizzutti's resume also includes working with Doc Severinsen and the Tonight Show Band as well as over 150 film and television soundtracks. Toss in recordings with Frank Sinatra and Barbara Streisand and Prince and as you can see his plate has been rather full over the years.

Now that you know something more about the musician, get to know "Ritzville." The title cut is a Miles Davis influenced gem with Vizzutti on piccolo trumpet, a vibrant number with a whimsical flair. There is the introspective "Touch"  featuring an articulated string section acting as more of a rhythm tour guide than easy listening warm up. "Amara" is a lovely ballad dialed up for effect and featuring the great Chick Corea while Vizzutti continues with a virtuoso type performance on flugelhorn. Mike Miller adds a most tasteful Spanish-style acoustic guitar for added flavor. Not to be outdone we have Stanley Clarke's lyrical walking bass lines on "Ticklish" which borders on the more modern post bop featuring pianist Darrell Grant and drummer Ronald Bruner Jr. Stanley Clarke was originally scheduled for the entire session but became ill at the start so Vizzutti called in session ace Reggie Hamilton who is on every one's short list for great bassists. "Laura's Blues" is a riff on Charlie Parker's altered blues and written for Vizzutti's wife Laura who also makes a most welcome appearance here.

While there are a handful of trumpet players getting more press for politics than playing they are one trick ponies at best. Allen Vizzutti is the real deal, a virtuoso performer quietly going about the business of making some of the finest music on record.

Tracks: Ritzville; Silhouette; Amara (featuring Chick Corea); Ticklish (featuring Stanley Clarke); Glide; Touch (to Laura with love); One Of A Kind; Papa Bear; Laura's Blues; Azure Cool; I Don't Know.

Personnel: Allen Vizzutti: trumpet, flugel horn piccolo trumpet; Chick Corea: piano; Stanley Clarke: acoustic bass; Ronald Bruner Jr.: drums; Mike Miller: acoustic & electric guitar; Reggie Hamilton: acoustic & electric bass; Darrell Grant: piano; Laura Vizzutti: piano.