Trumpeter Tito Carrillo opens his debut disc Opening Statement with the fast-paced, energetic original piece "Truth Seeker." The title of the tune suggests someone on a personal quest for enlightenment. Whatever the case may be, the Chicago-based musician seems to have found a form of musical truth in an unabashed, fiery trumpet style, rooted in the post-bop styles of Woody Shaw and Freddie Hubbard and laced with a tinge of Latin American soul.
Hailing from Austin, Texas, Carrillo has built an impressively diverse resume, performing and recording with the likes of Quincy Jones, Willie Pickens, Chuchito Valdez and Phil Collins. On the music faculty at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign since 2006, the trumpeter takes a hard swinging approach on Opening statement, a disc of mainly original pieces.
Weaving in and out of dense harmonic progressions with lyrical ease Carrillo creates moments of intense improvised surprise on stand-out tracks "Where You Come From" featuring tenor saxophonist Philip Doyle and "3 Colors (For R.M)," an Afro-Cuban trilogy of sorts with exquisite piano accompaniment by Benjamin Lewis. An unhurried approach enlivens the ballad "Stillness" and the soft-spoken groove of "Song for Elisa."