DownBeat Magazine Editor’s Pick Review of “Imprints”

March 2012

Tatum Greenblatt is a first-call trumpeter who is based in New York City but grew up in the great jazz education scene of Seattle. His new recording, “Imprints,” is his third as a leader and his strongest recording to date. “Imprints” delivers a perfect blend of hard-swinging grooves and tight, interesting arrangements. But Greenblatt also develops a big-vision set of music that displays the breadth of his interests and influences in one beautifully cohesive statement. On “Frafrito Malenke Bonacci (‘DIAP!’),” Greenblatt pays tribute to his time as a member of the Richard Bona Group with a wicked clave and sweet overdubbing geared to sound like Bona’s loop-pedal inspired guitar solos. On “Paris Is Burning” and “Consider Me Gone,” Greenblatt shows his love for pop music as a launching point for improvisation, covering St. Vincent and Sting, respectively. Throughout the recording, Greenblatt’s trumpet is a crystal-clear clarion, and he’s joined by a stellar band—Geoff Vidal on tenor sax and clarinet, guitarist Simon Kafka, Adam Birnbaum on keyboards, drummer Donald Edwards and bassist Boris Kozlov. Edwards slams a sweet drum solo to kick off a cover of Clifford Brown’s “Daahoud.” Kozlov’s bass solo on “Floating” sets the tone for this terrific original. And Kafka’s guitar work shines throughout. The closing duet between Kafka and Greenblatt on “Pure Imagination,” which most will remember from the 1971 film Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory, sends you off with a smile and a sigh. It’s a lovely conversation between two terrific musicians.

– Frank Alkyer