Jazz

Happy To Be Blue

06 JAN 12 CHRIS SLAWECKI

The Blue Mitchell collection Blue Mitchell Plays For Lovers compiles refined, gorgeous highlights from albums that the trumpeter recorded for Riverside between 1958 and 1962 to display some of his most lyrical and melodic trumpet playing in lush, romantic accompaniment by a literal "Who's Who" of the jazz times (including pianists Tommy Flanagan, Wynton Kelly and Cedar Walton, all of whom play beautifully).

Mitchell's trumpet nearly sings out "When I Fall In Love" and "How Deep Is The Ocean?," generating powerful emotion through a warm, almost human, voice that achingly whispers in ruminative wonder and loss. That same voices glides with maturity and grace through "But Beautiful" and "There Will Never Be Another You," twirling and weaving improvisation and melody into an elegant ballroom dance. Together, Mitchell and Walton illuminate every blue corner of the pianist's tune "Turquoise." Mitchell's sound doesn't burn as darkly as Miles Davis' or shine as brassily as Freddie Hubbard's, but it smolders quite nicely in its own warm and mellow blue flame.

Riverside's source material for Plays For Lovers remains available as standalone titles: Mitchell's label debut Big 6 and follow-up Out Of The Blue (both OJC, 1991), The Cup Bearers and Blue's Moods (both OJC, '94), A Sure Thing (OJC, '95), and Smooth As The Wind (OJC, '96), his large ensemble with strings excursion luxuriously arranged by Tadd Dameron and Benny Golson.