"Here's the real fusion music, a cunning, good-natured synthesis of jazz, blues, rock and classical music by master trumpeter Jack Walrath. His playing has the articulate sarcasm of a Lee Morgan, his writing reflects the eclecticism and bravura of his former mentor Charles Mingus.""....every style is navigated with maximum authenticity, instrumental prowess and humor. Check it out."
"He balances grand, sometimes even overwrought ideas, with a delightfully twisted sense of humor. If Oliver Nelson was arranger-cum-historian, then Walrath's second calling must be as a standup comic.""To Walrath, a change isn't just a new chord, it's style, tempo and dynamics, too.""Both Demons and Ray Charles on Mars unite Walrath's Motown past and jazz present, mixing the broad wails of a revue with squalls of improvisation...."
"There's a glow...."
"Walrath's Mingus credentials are enough to make a believer out of me, but he continues to pump out first-rate and uncompromisingly musical LPs....From what I hear, Walrath is sure hand (lipped?) at the top and bottom of his horn, has a penetrating open sound and a pleasing muted one. He writes lines with charm and originality and makes appropriate use of the trumpet's jazz history in his improvisations." "All in all, Walrath, along with Warren Vache' and Wynton Marsalis, is helping to bring the trumpet back to center stage. Happy times are here again ... maybe."
"Jack Walrath hates clichés but he loves the jazz tradition....lots of arresting twists ... the solos splinter the pet phrases of a whole range of styles --- old-time blues to new-time hues and cries.""....this music is better than good."
"Perhaps it is the rhythm and blues experience that gives Walrath's music its unpretentiousness and drive."
"....his writing reflects the broad Ellingron/Mingus scope .... a dozen postures and styles."
"He has a fine ear for the blues and his deft timing and fast, rambunctious phrasing fires up complacent lethargies. Walrath hates to be categorized. Buy the LP and unravel the Walrath mystery."
"....the combo is fascinating, worth hearing again and again.Except for Willie's (Nelson) parts, the album was cut in four hours, 30 minutes, a period inversely proportional to its quality.In short, Walrath is a distinctive trumpet player, composer, arranger and band leader. I recommend "Master of Suspense" unreservedly to people who throw away their preconceptions."
"....a major label debut that displays more range and greater diversity than any in recent memory."
"Big bold and brassy, Master of Suspense is an adventurous album that makes clear --- more than most commercial releases ever could hope to that jazz is an expression of the soul. It's a masterful portrait of soulful sound."
"....fast-paced and frenzied....spontaneity is definitely noticeable on his latest...."
"Walrath's compositions may blend calypso with gospel music on one cut and bend a jazz sound around an old cowboy tune on another. Walrath comes from the generation that one contemporary playwright called "Kennedy's children" --- the teens of the early 60's. One can't help but wonder if that doesn't have something to do with the freewheeling mood of his music....Walrath's group is different."
"....terrific, with spunky writing...."
"Walrath.... is a junk man of the trumpet and flugelhorn musician like Pee Wee Russell and Lester Bowie who can make art out of junk. With Walrath, it all comes out twisted, crabby, pointed and deadly humorous. The tunes and arrangements cross paths from Art Blakey to Thelonius Monk to Mingus to classical music to free jazz."
"....a fine showcase for his surprising and always intriguing arrangements that leave plenty of room for the other musicians to strut their stuff.There are touches of gospel, calypso and funk peppered throughout the rest of the album, and Walrath fits them all together with wit and verve. Jack Walrath is one jazz musician who hasn't forgotten that making music can be fun, and this record proves it."
"....witty and refreshing........serious and well-executed.....(about I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry *Grammy Nominee).....particularly well-performed with Nelson singing and playing guitar, James Williams on piano and Walrath weaving a poignant trumpet discant above the two. Even if the rest of the album were not up to snuff --- it is --- it would be worth the price for this song."
"....an intriguing new outing.........the music --- a mixture of postbop and avant-garde --- is first rate!"
"....super hip inventive arrangements that range in style from modern bop to avant-garde."
"He used to write for my band. Jack is like a chameleon."