At a point in one’s life when you had listened to blessed and inspired brass instrumentalists, the fact is, to listen to an alias (unknown to me until now) --- an awesome trumpeter alleviates my perpetual thirsty ear for horns. Gosh! Jacob Varmus burns quite enough on All the Things We Still Can Be to reawaken any ore-idealism.
Revealed thirty two years ago at La Scala, Jacob Varmus owns a perfect brass technique. He had developed a powerful trumpet utterance and a bold manner to compose both music and songs. Varmus’s formations (New American Wing, Astoria Chamber Symphony, Jacobsen-Varmus Collective, Brian Woodruff Sextet, Darcy James Argue's Secret Society and naturally the Jacob Varmus Quintet) and commissions (Anna Dagmar, Queens Council on the Arts, Jazz Composers' Collective, Astoria Music Society and Yankee Repertory Theatre) are copious without a doubt .... not to mention that VarmusTheater chairs the artistic direction for Astoria Music Society's jazz concert series.
All the Things We Still Can Be is nevertheless Varmus’s first release as a leader. A gem of orchestration composed of guitarist Nate Radley, pianist Toru Dodu, bassist Yoshi Waki, drummer Brian Woodruff as well as trumpeter Chris Komer.
The Jacob Varmus band astounds us with a euphonic elaboration including plenty of ardour, reverberations and candle luminance. Varmus is more than generous here. His musings lay on the music of monstrous jazz creators such as Shorter and Monk. Yet Varmus sounds unique as his peers. Nate Radley and Toru Dodu’s sonority is string-shaped and percussively assisted along by Brian Woodruff’s full and flexible bits. Chris Komer’s French horn blows great on "Perpetual Motion".
That said, Varmus’s inspiration on Chet and Miles is brilliant, gently marked and pushed along by be-bop and post-bop oriented structures.
And despite Varmus’s incredible mastery of his instruments, "Ecstatic Little Porpoises", "All The Things We Can Be", "Ultimately Intrusion", "Everything Happens To Me", "Country Dave Tex Mex", "What Is This Thing We Still Can Be?", (Oh! How great a track!), "Why Don’t You Dance?" and "Perpetual Motion" are performed fondly, polished and painted with gorgeous sound colours and softly building triple Cs. Please dear.... don’t let this one slip on by!