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Miles Away by Tony Lujan

Trumpet master Tony Lujan has been is described as a man who never stops playing trumpet, who lives with the horn as a constant presence. His spirit is rooted in the red rock beauty of his native New Mexico where his family has lived for generations. Although he has a diverse ethnic heritage including Pueblo Indian, Mexican, Spanish and English- he was raised in the rich Mexican American Southwest Culture playing trumpet first in his father’s Mariachi band. Since then he has undertaken a global journey as a musician and artist. It began with his first hearing of Clark Terry, which ignited a hunger for mastery and freedom of expression, which is still burning strong. Clark Terry become his mentor and remains a dear friend, one to whom Lujan talks daily by phone. He credits his teacher with showing him "how to make it click", how to make it Jazz. His blazing technique fostered by classical training and his innate Jazz feel garnered him opportunities to play with many world class Jazz and Latin artists. His years of apprenticeship as a sideman in a variety of musical settings gave him experience, training and more importantly a sense of his personal artistic vision and the music he would present as a solo artist. Now that he has the chance to express that personal vision, his initial efforts have been stunning including his most recent release " You Don’t Know What Love Is".

"Miles Away" was recorded in 1995 and chronicles a time he spent playing in Hamburg Germany. He originally came to teach and among his students were the very talented artists who eventually became his sidemen in a group that worked together for 10 years. Tenor Saxophonist Frank Della, who also studied with Dave Leibman, has a full-throated robust style displaying relaxed confidence on his horn and advanced melodic ideas. Pianist Buggy Braune is another member of the vibrant Hamburg Jazz Scene and a constant presence at clubs and festivals. Bassist Martin Wind is currently in residence in New York and is a confident soloist with a clean traditional acoustic sound. Darren Beckett shimmers and skips on the drums and all together they kick and swing with the relaxed bravura of musicians who have created a solid group sound. The tracks are all original except for a version of Green Dolphin Street whose arrangement was created spontaneously in the studio. Lujan contributes "No Te Preocupes" or in English - Don’t worry- the only Latin Jazz oriented cut in a session that is unashamedly BeBop focused - and which features Texas native and fellow Latino Joe Gallardo on Trombone. Martin Wind and Buggy Braune are responsible for the rest of the tracks, which show remarkable compositional creativity and maturity and allow for individual artistic freedom within shifting forms and tempos.

Tony Lujan blows me away. He’s got it all, the training, vision, expertise and raw love for the music to pull it off. But he’s got something more, he wants it, he’s hungry and in his prime. He knows that he has a message and a calling and he is more than ready to deliver it. It is a powerful combination of talent, drive and spirit. Add to this the vital contributions of these other gifted musicians and you have the music of "Miles Away".

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Tony Lujan
  • CD Title: Miles Away
  • Genre: BeBop / Hard Bop
  • Year Released: 2002
  • Record Label: Bella Records
  • Rating: Five Stars
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