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Ballads by Nate Birkey

Nate Birkey, a California-based trumpeter and singer, has an honest voice. No pseudo-bluesy stylings or bends. Not afraid to hit some notes slightly above or below pitch. Somewhat of a cross between Chet Baker and Bob Dorough. His vocals are pleasant and innocuous, but by the mid-point of this recording, I find myself wanting to hear less of his vocals and more of his trumpet. Perhaps his voice lacks a certain depth and variety. However, fans of the above-mentioned voices might feel differently.

Birkey chooses some nice tunes for "Ballads." "I’ll Be Seeing You," one of the stronger tracks, leads off. "Nature Boy," a tune that has made somewhat of a comeback over the past few years, perhaps thanks to its feature in "Moulin Rouge," features more of Birkey’s horn, which bears more than a passing resemblance to that of Miles Davis and Chet Baker. One member of the band who stands out for me is Jim Connolly, with rich and tasteful bass accompaniment. "My Ship" is taken at a more sprightly and swinging tempo than usual, and has some attractive brush work from drummer Cougar Estrada and a fine solo from the leader.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Nate Birkey
  • CD Title: Ballads
  • Genre: Straight-Ahead / Classic
  • Year Released: 2001
  • Record Label: Household Ink Records
  • Musicians: Nate Birkey – tr, voc, perc, Jamieson Trotter – p, Jim Connolly – b, Cougar Estrada – dr, perc, Ruben Estrada – vibes, piano, Daniel Zimmerman – el g, Matt Wrobel – ac g, Joe Woodard - el g
  • Rating: Three Stars
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