CD+DVD Reviews

Marvin Stamm Quartet – Alone Together – Jazzed Media JM 9002

A sweet CD/DVD set from Marvin Stamm

Published on October 22, 2007

Marvin Stamm Quartet – Alone Together – Jazzed Media JM 9002
Marvin Stamm Quartet – Alone Together – Jazzed Media JM 9002, DVD: 79:18 + CD: 73:35 -  Recorded Live 11/5/06   ****1/2:

(Marvin Stamm, trumpet and Flugelhorn; Bill Mays, piano; Rufus Reid, bass;
Ed Soph, drums)

The new Marvin Stamm CD/DVD issue from Jazzed Media was recorded in optimum conditions for this quartet. Stamm’s quartet had just come off a week in the relaxed setting of a jazz cruise (leaving from San Diego), and had played for four full concerts on the cruise.  Therefore, any kinks had been worked out and the quartet was both tight and confident.  Directly after leaving the cruise ship, they drove to Beverly Hills to set up for filming and doing a sound check.

The result is this CD/DVD issue, combining three standards: Alone Together, Invitation, and Baubles, Bangles, and Beads – with five originals from band members.  The recording was done in front of a live audience, who witnessed a relaxed creative set. The video is clear and color-correct, and the audio quality is one of being five feet away from the band in an intimate nightclub setting.

Bill Mays is an inventive top drawer pianist, whether comping for Stamm’s powerful solos, or having ample time to develop his own piano choruses. Rufus Reid, the consummate bass veteran gets plenty of opportunities to solo himself, and his pizzicato lines are pristine sounding as his bass is well miked. Reid’s own composition, Come Out and Play was new to the band’s book, but their concerts the week before showed their preparation to be “ship shape.” Mays and Stamm blend well here with Reid setting up the bottom end.

The standard ballad Invitation is gorgeous with Stamm’s warm Flugelhorn tone, and Mays uses his fingers to strum the piano’s inner strings. At 14:08, the song can take its time in development, and Soph’s cymbal work sets up Stamm to increase the song’s intensity.

Lagrima Agradecida is a nice feature for Stamm, and is based on May’s time spent in Brazil. Drummer Soph’s brush work is put to good use on May’s Fun House. Rufus Reid is featured as well here. Two Stamm compositions conclude the concert – When She Looks at Me and T’s Butter – the former a mellow ballad featuring Mays comping behind Stamm’s flugelhorn, and the latter based on the chord changes to Sonny Rollins’ Oleo.

Alone Together is a nice find, providing both audio and video treats.  It’s always nice to hear a great CD and wonder what it was like to hear and view the session in person.  Alone Together provides that opportunity.

TrackList: Alone Together, Come Out and Play, Invitation, Baubles, Bangles and Beads, Lagrima Agradecida, Fun House, When She Looks at Me, ‘T’s Butter

- Jeff Krow




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