by A.D. Amorosi, For the Inquirer

Judging from his resumé, Berlin, N.J., trumpeter and flugelhorn player Matt Cappy likes to mix things up. He’s played on studio sessions for the  Roots, Michael Jackson, Elvis Costello, Marah, John Legend, the Mavericks, and gospel great Marvin Sapp. Each has proved a perfect setting for his muted, holy, breathy brass tone that’s hotly reminiscent of great trumpeters Mark Isham and Rene Lopez.

“I always wanted to be known as an assassin on my instrument,” Cappy says of his musical killer instincts. “That’s not always about doing something fancy, either. Keep it simple. Do your fill. Make it powerful. Make it breathe better.”

Cappy, the eternal sideman, has moved front and center with Church and State, his first solo album. He marks the occasion with a show at Johnny Brenda’s on Friday.

It took eight years to record Church and State, a process hampered by Cappy’s status as an excellent sideman. “Honestly, you go on these tours with Jay Z, Jill [Scott], or Kirk Franklin, as I have. You record on classics like Marah’s Kids in Philly or Michael Jackson’s Invincible. You get more confident in what you’ve done and recognize what you must do better.  I had learned how to speak my voice within their music and added great qualities to their sound. The phone keeps ringing, so I knew I was doing that right, sustaining that,” says Cappy.

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