By Kerilie McDowall | Published December 2018
With Wynton Marsalis as his mentor at The Juilliard School, trumpeter Charlie Porter, 40, could have been eager to record. Yet, Porter is releasing his first album as a leader alongside 21 of Oregon’s finest musicians and New York’s Majid Khaliq. It’s been worth the wait.
Porter begins with virtuosic solo trumpet on “Prologue,” where he foreshadows the album’s compositional themes. “Mel Smiles,” a playful duo with drummer Mel Brown, is followed by a locked-in trio and a sizzling quartet setting. A fiery quintet leads to “Brown Study,” then a feature of horns in a sextet. Porter moves across the instrumentation palindrome—compositions for solo trumpet through sextet and back—with another quintet, then a country-infused gypsy jazz quartet. A swinging trio then a piano/trumpet duo move toward the palindrome’s conclusion. “Epilogue” closes the series with Porter’s poignant solo trumpet. Juggling 22 musicians, Porter captures sundry moods within his clever compositional framework, the bandleader’s technical wizardry patiently unfolding.
Charlie Porter: Prologue; Mel Smiles; Rondo For Sticky; New Beginnings; A Lover Scorned; Brown Study; Messenger; Skain Train; Morning Glory; Anthem; Epilogue. (64:08)
Personnel: Charlie Porter, trumpet; Mel Brown (2), Alan Jones (3, 6, 7), Michael Raynor (4), Timothy Rap (8), drums; David Goldblatt (4), Greg Goebel (5), Dan Gaynor (7), George Colligan (10), piano; Jon “Sticky” Lakey (3), Bill Athens (4), Dylan Sundstrom (5), Tim Gilson (6), Tom Wakeling (7), Cary Miga (8), Chuck Israels (9), bass; John Nastos, alto, soprano saxophone (5, 6); David Evans, tenor saxophone (6, 7); John Moak, trombone (6); Majid Khaliq, violin (8); Christopher Woitach, guitar (9).