MARVIN STAMM QUARTET
Like most jazz fans, I recognized Marvin Stamm's name as a mark of quality long before I could identify his trumpet style: busy and sophisticated technique; controlled, matte-finish timbre; and a blend of jazz's traditions of lyricism and showmanship. After brief stints with the Stan Kenton and Woody Herman bands of the early 1960s, Stamm moved to New York, where he alternated between lucrative commercial-studio work and big-band or brass-backed jazz dates. His commercial work was anonymous, but if you found Stamm's name in the credits of a jazz album you could be assured of its craftsmanship: any producer willing to pay for his talents must have taken the proceedings seriously. Stamm cemented his jazz credentials as a frequent member of the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra from 1967 to '72, but his two albums of the 90s (Bop Boy and Mystery Man, both on Musicmasters) provide a greater service than even his recordings with that ensemble--they lift his trumpet out of a horn section and let him carry the show as a consummate small-group leader. Stamm has very few peers among improvising trumpeters; his skill and experience allow him to command any idiom or tempo, and he solos the way a matador plays with a bull. He teases the tune, dancing ahead of the beat; then, sweeping his lines aside, he lets the rhythm rush past; finally he faces the music and drives home his point. Stamm's quartet here will include local heroes Willie Pickens on piano and Larry Gray on bass; he'll bring with him drummer Ed Soph, who first grabbed ears in 1965 as a 20-year-old college student spending his summer vacation in Stan Kenton's band. Stamm's gig coincides with the Jazz Showcase appearance of trumpeter Randy Brecker (see separate Critic's Choice), who succeeded Stamm in the Jones/Lewis band and later joined him as one of New York's first-call studio trumpeters. Friday, 9 PM, and Saturday, 8 PM, Green Mill, 4802 N. Broadway; 773-878-5552. NEIL TESSER
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): uncredited photo.