Double Trumpet Fun


Swing is generally thought of as big band music, but Double Trumpet Doings by Don Elliott proves that small ensembles could bring it, too. One of Elliott's few lead turns, Double Trumpet Doings (Original Jazz Classics) pairs this multi-instrumentalist (mainly trumpet, with occasional mellophone and vibes) with trumpeter Rusty Dedrick for a 1956 twin trumpet date anchored by guitarist Mundell Lowe and pianist Dick Hyman, who wrote most of their tunes.

"Vampire Till Ready" could not sound more perfectly written for two trumpets, and the leaders' improvisations -- one with mute, the other without -- sound suitably inspired. Their twin trumpets approach the Gershwin's "Mine" in a way that the Andrews Sisters might have sung it, each completing the other's phrases, swinging it so hard that it rocks. "Easy To Remember" and "When Your Lover Has Gone" would have made a beautiful two-sided ballad single, and Double Trumpet ends in echoes of New Orleans from the trumpets-only duet "Theme And Inner Tube."

Most folks probably don't consider Mundell Lowe on the same level as Basie's legendary guitarist Freddie Green, but Lowe's playing throughout this set puts him in Green's gold standard class. If you like what you hear, Lowe's other Concord titles include A Grand Night For Swinging (OJC, 1957), featuring pianist Billy Taylor, and the hypnotic chamber piece Guitar Moods (OJC, 1956). You can also hear Elliott with embryonic pianist Bill Evans on Tenderly: An Informal Session, 1956-'57 recordings issued by Milestone in 2001.