Bruce Von Stiers
When I think about modern jazz trumpeters, Arturo Sandoval, Wynton Marsalis and Terrel Stafford come to mind. But there are many, many talented trumpet players out there that continue to provide great jazz music. One of those trumpet players is Michael C. Lewis.
A couple of months ago, Lewis released an album titled Intimate Journey. It has a combination of subtle and gentle jazz pieces along with some nice light groove jazz efforts.
Lewis grew up in Houston and then went on to study at the Berklee School of Music. Upon graduation, Lewis continued his education, earning a Master’s degree in Jazz Studies at New York University. Along the way, he has played at venues such as the Apollo, Village Vanguard, The Blue Note and Birdland.
To help out on the album, Lewis recruited some top talent. Alva Nelson played piano on a couple of the songs. I reviewed Nelson’s album, Soul Eyes, eight years ago. Andrei Carrier was on guitar. He is also a graduate of the Berklee School of Music and can be found teaching at the Manna Music Workshop in New York. Also on guitar was Billy “Spaceman” Patterson. Frank Ocean, Miles Davis and David Sanborn are but a sampling of the top artists who Patterson has recorded with. Jermaine “Beatdown” McQueen played the drums. His credits include helping out Black Violin once in a while. Gerald Trottman did the keyboards and keyboard rhythm tracks for the album. His work includes composing for such films as Father Figure and Blade Runner 2049. Victor Wise does the drum programming for one song. He can be heard playing at venues like Dinosaur Bar-B-Que with artists like Raine Torae. I reviewed Walter Beasley’s album, Go With The Flow, many years ago. He plays alto sax on a song for this album. As for Lewis, on the album he plays trumpet, flugelhorn, does some programming and also provides vocals on a couple of songs.
Houston Nights is the first song. It is a light head bopping groove with some a nice piano solo by Nelson in the middle.
Reasons is another light and easy song. Walter Beasley’s sax intertwines with the trumpet of Lewis on it.
A Moment has a gentle tone like lovers coming together in the moonlight.
Lewis shows his vocal chops with Make Me Say It Again Girl. It is a subtle R & B styled love song.
Miles To Go is a cool groove with some interesting vocals from Lewis.
The title track, Intimate Journey, has some great smooth trumpet and R & B styled vocals.
Soulful Atmosphere has a mellow, head bopping beat with some terrific flugelhorn and slick groove guitar.
Beside The Still Waters is a nice soft piece that really showcases Lewis’ trumpet playing.
Expressive Lee is a way cool groove piece.
The song Reasons is re-visited, this time with a muted trumpet sound.
The album closes with Houston Knights. It is a kind of remix of the first song on the album, with a twist or two, including a bit of vocals.
Michael C. Lewis is a very talented trumpeter. He also has a talent for composing. I forgot to mention it earlier, but he composed almost all of the songs on the album. This album showcases both of those talents well. And Lewis made really good choices in the musicians who he had play on the album with him. I was especially pleased to the hear Nelson and Beasley on the album.
Intimate Journey is out now so you should be able to get a copy at your favorite music retailer.
The official web site for Michael C. Lewis is at www.michaelclewis.com There are songs from the album that you can listen on the site.