Trumpets, the posh new jazz club near Dupont Circle, presented the Arnie Lawrence Sextet with guest trumpeters Roy Hargrove and Tommy Williams Friday night. But before the late show was over, several young area horn players had a chance to contribute a few earthy, 12-bar choruses to Duke Ellington's "Creole Love Call," capping a long, spirited, freewheeling performance.
Despite all the musicians on stage at one point or another, there was still ample time to allow the headliners to shine on a series of standards. Not surprisingly, blues dominated the set. A veteran and versatile saxophonist, Lawrence tenderly explored and expanded upon "Lover Man" and other familiar melodies, while the young Texas phenom Hargrove and the local favorite Williams alternately added growling tones and clarion bursts to the mix. On several tunes, including an original blues by Hargrove, pianist Bob Butta, bassist Geoff Harper and drummer Lenny Robinson fashioned a vibrantly percussive and rhythmically churning backdrop.
Clearly, the elegantly appointed basement club, adorned with many striking black-and-white photographs of jazz giants living and dead, is a welcome addition to the city's always tenuous jazz scene. But the management will have to squelch all the barroom chatter that goes on during performances if it plans to treat the music as a priority.