Dick Titterington, The 3 Trumpet Band Live at The 1905 (Heavywood)
The 3 Trumpet Band recorded their third album before an audience at The 1905, an upscale pizza emporium on the east side of Portland, Oregon. Some reviewers have called the place the successor to the belated Jimmy Mak’s club. That’s a stretch, but the night Dick Titterington and his sextet recorded this album there, listeners might have been persuaded that it was so. Trumpeters Titterington, Paul Mazzio and Thomas Barber are the front line, with the all-star Portland rhythm section of pianist Greg Goebel, bassist Dave Captein and drummer Jason Palmer. All of the compositions are by Titterington, with the exception of Captein’s “Ass Divot,” whose title may not have anything to do with golf.
The opening track, “Kakistocracy,” establishes a level of trumpet virtuosity that holds throughout the album. The dictionary says that a kakistocracy is “a system of government run by the worst, least qualified, or most unscrupulous citizens.” From the slurs, squeezes and growls of Titterington’s opening solo on that piece to the beautifully harmonized ending of “Bass Line,” the musicianship is scrupulous, with no indication of kakistocracy but plenty of energy and inventiveness. The descriptive trumpet sparring and allusions of “The Dark Clown” are what horror novelist Stephen King might have come up with if he wrote music. Mazzio’s and Barber’s solos intensify the ominous atmosphere of the piece. Pianist Goebel’s showcase is “Emma,” with a short, evocative, solo that Barber’s trumpet solo matches for expressivity. Goebel follows with rich harmonies in an extended improvised coda. It is a moment of meditation in an album packed with stimulating trumpetism.