Review: Unsung Heroes – Brian Lynch

Brian Lynch – Unsung Heroes (Hollistic MusicWorks)

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Artist Website:

As I’ve reached the halfway mark in my “Obscure Trumpet Masters” series, I felt it was time to talk about the project and the artist that served as part of the inspiration for those posts: Brian Lynch’s Unsung Heroes.

Mr. Lynch has been a part of the mainstream jazz scene for the better part of three decades. He has won acclaim for his work with jazz giants from Horace Silver to Phil Woods to Eddie Palmieri. He was the last in a long and storied line of trumpet players in Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers.  And he is not only a world-class musician, but a keen student of the history of jazz, especially those who came before him on his instrument. His recordings as a leader have often included lesser known compositions by trumpet giants and some by those whom the spotlight missed.  His 2000 Sharp 9 Records release Tribute to the Trumpet Masters paid homage to greats ranging from Dizzy Gillespie to Lee Morgan to Lynch’s idol, Kenny Dorham.  Unsung Heroes is a natural progression, as respect is paid to, as the title suggests, many jazz trumpet players who have not gotten the recognition that they deserve. 

On this two-disc collection (three, if you include the set of alternate takes), Lynch spotlights the playing and/or writing of Kamau Adilifu (Charles Sullivan), Donald Byrd, Joe Gordon, Howard McGhee, Claudio Roditi, Louis Smith, Idrees Sulieman, Ira Sullivan, Charles Tolliver and Tommy Turrentine [brother of tenor great Stanley].  Unsung Heroes is an impressive effort in every way, from the breadth of jazz trumpet history that it covers, to masterful compositions (especially the never recorded works by Turrentine and Sulieman) to the outstanding musicianship of Mr. Lynch and his band: Vincent Herring on alto; Alex Hoffman on tenor; Rob Schneiderman, piano; David Wong, bass; Pete Van Nostrand, drums and Vicente Rivero on congas.

Lynch’s liner notes provide a great deal of background on the artists and the compositions.  I had been aware of Turrentine and Sulieman’s stellar work as sidemen and their limited discographies as leaders, but I was unaware that each had left a rich body of music; written in their later years, but never performed.  All of it had been under the care of trumpeter/ producer Don Sickler. Eight of these tunes, four by each man, make their recorded debut on this project. All of the performances of these new works are at minimum, very good. Three of them (Turrentine’s “Big Red”; “I Could Never Forget You” and Sulieman’s “Short Steps”) are excellent; as are “Terra Firma Irma”, “Household of Saud” and Lynch’s own “Further Arrivals” and “Marissa’s Mood”.

Unsung Heroes is Brian Lynch’s finest work as a leader. The music is pure mainstream jazz, executed by pros performing at their highest level. Lynch and the other musicians are completely up to the task at hand and they deliver strong ensemble performances and consistently creative solos. 

As of this writing, Unsung Heroes is only available as a high quality digital download, with a fully downloadable booklet, at ($9.99 each for Vols. 1 & 2; Vol. 3 [Alt. Takes] is Name Your Price). The CD version is expected sometime in 2011.  Fans of straight-ahead jazz will want this project in your collection, regardless of the format.


3 Responses to “Review: Unsung Heroes – Brian Lynch”

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Curtis Davenport, Curtis Davenport. Curtis Davenport said: Review: Unsung Heroes – Brian Lynch (@brianlynchmusic) […]

  2. […] the never recorded works by Turrentine and Sulieman) to the outstanding musicianship of … “jazz trumpet” – Google Blog Search This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged Brian, Cafe, Curt&#39s, Heroes, Jazz, […]

  3. […] Mention must go to Brian Lynch’s Unsung Heroes, an album released on CD in 2011, which would be at the top of this list, except for the fact that […]

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