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Saturday, June 12, 2021

Muted Memories - Carl Stevens


Harlem Nocturne

Muted Memories
Carl Stevens
His Trumpet and His Orchestra
Mercury Wing MGW 12138

From the back cover: Versatile arranger-trumpeter Carl Stevens leads a group of Mercury All-Stars through this delightful session. Tympanist-Percussionist Bobby Christian has his own LP, MR Percussion (MG 20335 and SR 60015). Guitarist here, but also top vocalist on his own LP (MG 20418 and SR 60064), is Frank D'Rone. Bassist John Frigo switched to fiddle for his own Mercury 12-inch package (I Love John Frigo – He Swings MG 20285). And we can't overlook talented 88-er Dick Marx whose LP's are available under his own name on several other labels.

With trumpet gaining in popularity continually, Carl Stevens, Aurora, Illinois' gift to the valve and mouthpiece coterie, has carved a most unique approach to the rocky up-hill success climb.

While other trumpeters play routine standards in a style that dates back to 1930's, Stevens has a brand new approach. Utilizing all-star rhythm section, Stevens has actually written the musical backdrop for his rendition of the evergreens herein.

On previous trumpet efforts, the headlined horn has played against the tight rhythm section which Benny Goodman introduced. Stevens believes in variety. Not only does he switch the spotlight to his four cohorts for solos, but his own work is backed by a rhythm section that is conspicuous by its musical presence.

Michel LeGrand, writing in Down Beat recently, said modern recording technique is forcing arrangers to score differently!

Stevens, a long way from LeGrand's hometown, Paris, France, proves it with the dashes of tympani, percussion, music-box piano effects and guitar patterns.

And, as to mutes, Stevens raided four music stores of everything in the way of a plunger to the vastest audio-sensation mutes, to gain the fiery effects and the completely restful gimmicks you'll dig herein.

I Concentrate On You
Jeepers Creepers
A Handful Of Stars
Satin Doll
The Song Is You
That Old Feeling
Harlem Nocturne
You Belong To Me
Out Of This World
Younger Than Springtime
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