Jazz: Trumpeters Salute Eldridge

The "Generations of Jazz" series brought trumpeters to the Village Gate on Sunday - Clark Terry, Randy Brecker, Michael Mossman and Johnny Carisi, along with a speech by the trumpeter Roy (Little Jazz) Eldridge. The series, designed to expose new jazz talent alongside well-known players, is sponsored by the New York local of the American Federation of Musicians; between sets, the union awarded Mr. Eldridge a well-deserved plaque for lifetime achievement. "I'm glad I kept my dues up," he said.

The concert was a genial jam session. Mr. Terry, Mr. Brecker and Mr. Mossman each joined a rhythm section (John Campbell on piano, Marcus McLaurine on bass and Charles Braugham on drums) for two tunes; after intermission, they all returned with Mr. Carisi to play rounds of solos in "On Green Dolphin Street" and "Now's the Time."

There was good, poised playing all around, but without the competitive spark of more memorable jam sessions. Mr. Terry, on flugelhorn, played articulate, pearly-toned strings of bebop sixteenth notes and well-turned blues phrases. Mr. Brecker pushed the harmonies towards 1960's chromaticism and made forays in to the high register. Mr. Carisi, known more as a composer than a trumpeter, had a leisurely, elliptical approach in his two solos. But Mr. Mossman took more risks more successfully, with darting bebop lines and smooth leaps upward; in "Now's the Time," he switched to piccolo trumpet for an aggressive upper-register sprint.

Mr. Eldridge's speech had the kinds of unpredictable rhythms and punchy phrases he used to play on trumpet; he also pointed out, "These young cats - they don't want to play slow." Indeed, only Mr. Mossman took on a ballad, "What's New," and he swung into double time for his solo.

To close each segment, the trumpeters paid tribute to Mr. Eldridge with the trumpet-section part of the Gene Krupa band's "After You've Gone" and an affectionate statement of "Little Jazz," in which Mr. Terry pointed his flugelhorn directly toward Mr. Eldridge.

Jon Pareles
New York Times
April 23, 1986