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Peter Welker: Duke, Billy and Tadd *

Album Notes

Peter Welker put a lot of work into Duke, Billy and Tadd. A fine trumpeter and arranger from San Francisco, Welker spent two-and-a-half years writing the charts, organizing and recording a tribute to Duke Ellington, Billy Strayhorn and Tadd Dameron, although "Things Ain't What They Used to Be" was actually written by Mercer Ellington. In addition to a core of fine Bay area musicians, Welker utilized such major players as tenor-saxophonist Mel Martin, Ray Pizzi (flute and tenor), trumpeter Herb Pomeroy and trombonist Bill Watrous in featured roles on various selections. Starting with a brief version of Ellington's "Heaven" that is played by six horns sans rhythm, and progressing through inventive versions of standards, the program has no slow moments. Watrous' playing on "Prelude to a Kiss" is a highlight, as are driving versions of "Our Delight," "Raincheck" and "Upper Manhattan Medical Group." To wrap up the CD, Welker (who had not taken a single solo) was talked into featuring himself on a quartet version of "Soultrane." All in all, this is a well-conceived set that is highly recommended. ~ Scott Yanow


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