In Real Time – John Bailey

In Real Time – John Bailey

Label: Summit Records

Release date: June 2018

Catalog number: 720


01 Rhapsody
comp: John Bailey
02 My Man Louis!
comp: John Bailey
03 Triplicity
comp: John Bailey
04 Lovely Planet
comp: John Bailey
05 Blues for Ella
comp: John Bailey
06 Morro Velho
comp: Milton Nascimento
07 Stepping Up
comp: John Bailey
08 Children's Waltz
comp: John Bailey
09 Ensail Geral
comp: Gilberto Gill

Known as one of the most eclectic trumpet players in New York City, Bailey is an in-demand musician and teaching artist in all forms of jazz, R&B, pop and classical music.  He became a member of the Buddy Rich Band while still in college, and his career has included tenures with Ray Charles, Ray Barretto and New World Spirit, The Woody Herman Orchestra and Frank Sinatra, Jr.  He has performed and recorded with James Moody, Kenny Burrell, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Barrett Deems and many others.  His work with Arturo O’Farrill’s Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra won two Grammy awards.


In Real Time features:

John Bailey – Trumpet, Flugelhorn

Stacy Dillard – Tenor & Soprano Saxophone

John Hart – Guitar

Cameron Brown – Bass

Victor Lewis – Drums & Cymbals


A trumpet prodigy, Bailey’s spectacular gifts began to be noticed as a high school musician in 1984 when DownBeat Magazine cited him in its annual Student Music Awards for outstanding performances in both the classical and jazz trumpet categories, noting “Shades of Wynton!” The same year, he was a finalist in the National Foundation for Advancements in the Arts (NFAA) Arts Recognition and Talent Search, along with Donny McCaslin and Bill Charlap; and won the National Association of Jazz Educators’ Youth Talent Contest. Later, as a senior at the Eastman School of Music, he won DownBeat’s Best Instrumental Soloist award.

Bailey, who continues to teach privately, believes that educating the next generation of musicians is essential for any artist. “In American culture, where the arts are often ignored or deemphasized in both schools and the mainstream media, it is up to us, the artists, to inspire an appreciation for great art.” he says. “By keeping performance standards as high as possible and sharing our devotion with others, especially children, we enrich countless lives.”



In Real Time, John Bailey (Summit Records), reveals a trumpeter in his prime, reeling off runs and phrases with consummate technique and admirable logic. John leads a piano-less quintet featuring Stacy Dillard, tenor and soprano saxes; John Hart, guitar; Cameron Brown, bass, and Victor Lewis, drums. Seven of the CD’s nine tracks are originals by the leader that range from hard bop to blues to a swinging waltz. The two other tunes are by giants of Brazilian music.

On Milton Nascimento’s “Morro Velho,” John plays flugelhorn with Leo Grinhauz, cello; John’s wife, Janet Axelrod, flute; Cameron and Victor. His captivating, exotic arrangement pairs flugelhorn and cello echoing and soloing with each other. Tandem soloing from trumpet, guitar and tenor sax also dominates the other Brazilian tune, Gilberto Gil’s bossa “Ensaio Geral,” the bright, short conclusion to the album.

The CD kicks off with John’s “Rhapsody,” a piece that belies its name with a rollicking rhythm and joyful, exuberant solos. John mines his bebop and hard bop knowledge on three originals: “Triplicity,” a multi-strand theme with quick-step trades between the horns and guitar; “Blues for Ella,” a fast, staccato bop blues line with an especially fluent, crisp trumpet solo; and “Stepping Up,” a hard bop piece that culminates in exhilarating four-bar trades.

John’s versatility comes to the fore on three other tracks. “My Man Louis!” (for his teenage son, not Satchmo) rides over a jaunty ostinato riff from bass and guitar and a trumpet solo of precisely clipped notes. “Lovely Planet” is a melodically elegiac ballad with Cameron’s bass prominent under John’s trumpet. And “Children’s Waltz” is in a seductively swinging 3/4, John’s flugelhorn joined by Stacy’s only outing on soprano sax.




In the liner annotation from the great Ira Sullivan he allows this is brassman Bailey’s debut recording under his own name. That allows for the fact that yours truly had never heard of him, but that’s okay, he has probably never heard of me either. Long buried in the recording studio trenches Mr. Bailey has stepped out to issue this disc of his own making with assistance from a stellar cast; Stacy Dillard, a mainstay of Smalls in the Village and a player of immense talent whom my old listening pal, Sharel Cassity, advised me to pay attention to many moons ago,{check his invigorating ride on “My Man  Louis!”) John Hart, who first impressed me with his work with Brother Jack McDuff and the dynamic rhythmic duo of Cameron Brown and Victor Lewis. With a backup  band of this stature Bailey need not worry as he soars through seven self-scripted tunes and a cover each of works from Brazilian writers Milton Nascimento & Gilberto Gil.  An admitted disciple of Clifford Brown, Bailey has numerous weapons in his musical arsenal and most are heard here but one of the strongest has never came to light before and that is his composing ability. The originals herein are most impressive and run to gamut from sublime to smoking. As mentioned earlier, his bandmates are more than up to the task of interpretation of these gems. Veterans Brown & Lewis are both tight and elastic when need be, The youngest and perhaps most adventurous solowise, Dillard sticks mostly to his trusty tenor but displays just enough fishhorn to keep the pallet broad. To these ears, the standout of this set is guitarist John Hart who is a rock in the comping department since no keyboards are present but it is his solo work that captures my lobes every time. As stated before, there are many examples of his playing in my collection but this is the best I’ve ever heard from him.  His lyricism and that of the leader(on flugelhorn) are present on the seductive “Morro Velho” where Dillard & Lewis lay out and Bailey’s spouse is heard in the ensemble on flute and Leo Grinhauz on cello for a refreshing change of pace. Brazilian Chamber Music for want of a better term. The flugel is utilized on the hip two-step “Children’s Waltz” with soprano and one of two Cameron Brown upright spots heard on this disc. Trapster Lewis gets the same amount of solo space with a  brushed commencement to the dancing last cut “Ensaio Geral”. After three decades of session work Bailey plays with the joyful exuberence of a man who just escaped from Devil’s Island with Papillon. Something of a sleeper for sure.

-Larry Hollis, Cadence Magazine