(Richard Boulger, trumpet; David Schnitter, tenor and soprano sax; Kris Jensen, tenor sax & flute; John Hicks, piano; Anthony Wonsey, piano; Dennis Irwin, bass; Victor Jones, drums)
What drew me to Richard Boulger’s second independently-produced CD was the strong recommendation by Boulger’s friend and mentor, Freddie Hubbard. Freddie lavishly praised Boulger in the liner notes. What added to this CD’s cachet were the sidemen: the late John Hicks on piano as well as the young keyboard lion, Anthony Wonsey, who as a leader can do no wrong on his own CDs. Add to the mix the ex-Jazz Messenger saxophonist, David Schnitter, and the accomplished rhythm section of Dennis Irwin on bass and star drummer, Victor Jones.
In the 1990s Boulger was a student in Jackie McLean’s jazz programs, so you know Boulger has been well tutored in how to swing. Richard composed all 12 compositions on Blues Twilight and explains their origins in his liner notes. They are a mix of modal, or straight ahead blowing (title track); ballads (Letting Go, which features Schnitter and the now lamented John Hicks. Add a gorgeous soul tribute to Boulger’s father in For Souls Past. Other winning tracks include a swinging Miss Sarah, and the gentle, A Flower for Mary, as well as Tears, a moving muted piece inspired by the 2004 Tsunami in Asia.
Boulger does have the firepower and the brashness of an early Freddie Hubbard. Count him in among the new group of accomplished trumpeters such as Jim Rotondi, Jeremy Pelt, and Joe Magnarelli. Well done!