Picks and Pans Review: Sprint
updated 12/19/1983 AT 01:00 AM EST
•originally published 12/19/1983 AT 01:00 AM EST
Red-haired Robert Roland Chudnick received his first trumpet as a bar mitzvah present. A few years later, under the spiffier name of Red Rodney, he was blowing with Jimmy Dorsey, Stan Kenton, Gene Krupa and, in 1949, the ultimate compliment—the Charlie Parker quintet, replacing Miles Davis. Ira Sullivan came of age in Chicago, mastered trumpet, flute and saxophone and later moved to Miami, where his prowess was a fairly well-kept secret. Rodney and Sullivan recorded together in the mid-'50s, then lost touch until a chance reunion in a Fort Lauderdale nightclub in 1980. For the last two years, they've played as a duo, with various sidemen and become one of the best in mainstream jazz. Their latest album, recorded live in San Francisco last year, brims with youthful energy as well as seasoned mastery, and not just because the pianist, bassist and drummer are all under 30. Red's and Ira's style and choice of material embrace just about everything that's happened in jazz since they were Young Turks, except the ultra avant-garde. They're greatly aided by the composing talents of their pianist, Garry Dial, who contributes three pieces in disparate moods, swinging (How Do You Know), fierce (Sprint) and humorous (My Son, The Minstrel).