Steve Huffsteter..Trumpet / Flugelhorn
It was a night of blistering counterpoint and 8-4 and 2 bar exchanges with two of the elite trumpeters in jazz. The notes flew like lightning flashes across the Kansas sky .
On "Straight No Chaser" Saunders and Huffsteter set Monk's theme with a blazing unison display. On the 4 bar trades, Frank Collett's Piano and the trumpets parried with each other in playful but deadly musical ripostes. Giannelli on Bass oversaw the action and served as the timekeeper for this heavyweight match.
"I've Got Rhythm", the jazz anthem from whose loins sprang many boppish tunes, was given the original treatment and if notes were gunpowder, there would have been a fire works display at Michael D's. Saunders' phrases seemed to go on endlessly and just when you figure not a note more can be squeezed out, he soars upward and comes cascading down in torrent of notes.... and then Steve Huffsteter with a muted horn proceeded to come in as cool as a South Beach drink, building to an explosive finish. Collett's piano solo was a work of bop art, It had the swing that brought a chuckle and appreciative smile from the glitterati, Frank Collett reminds me of Frank Strazzeri, in that they both have that mixture of fire and sweetness that is so prevalent in the Bud Powell tradition. Suffice it to say that the 2's on this tune were so fast they seem to flatline.
There were 3 Trumpet players in the audience utterly transfixed with awe and admiration.
"There Will Never Be Another You" zipped along at racehorse tempo. The contrapuntal styles of the two trumpets meshed so beautifully that it was breathtaking. Again Killer fours all the way around.
Steve Huffsteter's muted solo on "Teach Me Tonight" was absolutely perfect both soundwise and otherwise. This tune was a musical painting on a canvas of pure beauty.
John Giannelli and Frank Collett made this ensemble complete with their superb musicianship. This was jazz that simply was as good at it gets. It was a show to remember.
As the great vocalist Nancy Kelly might say, "This is America, we are free, and this is Jazz."