Voyage Home
Review by Willard Manus

Inspired composing, playing and arranging make Chris Rogers’ VOYAGE HOME one of the finest jazz albums of the year. Rogers, son of legendary salsa and jazz trombonist Barry Rogers, carries on the family tradition, showing off his exquisite trumpet (and keyboard) skills on nine original tunes, all of which are alive and captivating.
Chris pays tribute to his late father on “Ballad for B.R.,” a tune which begins with the final cadenza Barry played on “Manha de Carnaval” some years ago, then gives way to trombonist Art Baron, who infuses the rest of “Ballad” with his warm, insinuating delivery, backed up by guest artists Roger Rosenberg on baritone sax and Steve Khan on guitar. Chris keeps everyone on message with his expert trumpet and keyboard work.

Another big influence on Chris was saxophonist Michael Brecker, who was able to record two tracks for him before his tragically premature death, “Counter Change” and “Whit’s End.” On both of these, Brecker shows why he is now considered to be one of the jazz greats.

VOYAGE HOME is Chris Rogers’ first album as leader (he’s played and recorded previously with such artists as Frank Sinatra, Gerry Mulligan, Eddie Palmieri and Lee Konitz). On the face of what he has done here, let’s hope we’ll be hearing lots more from him in future.