Friday, March 9, 2012

In review---Trombone Rules


Marshall Gilkes
Sound Stories
Alternative Side Records

When trombonist Marshall Gilkes’ Sound Stories arrived at my post office box, I had no plans for reviewing the recording in the near future.  I was taking a short sabbatical from reviewing so I could concentrate on other projects.  However, out of curiosity, I slipped Sound Stories into my CD player and the music grabbed me.  The blend of lyrical and be bop jazz played tightly by this quintet begged for a review.  With Gilkes leading, Donny McCaslin (tenor sax), Adam Birnbaum (piano), Yasushi Nakamura (bass) and Eric Doob (drums) through both composed-through and improvisations, this album showcases a great deal of jazz talent.  Who doesn’t enjoy the alchemical process of music? A little bass, drums, toss in piano, and an extensive conversation between tenor saxophone and trombone, and you have a recipe for a jazzy escape.

The ironically titled, Anxiety--Part 1 and Part 2 did not bring on neurosis and in fact, I felt relaxed listening to these two pieces.  Part 1 featured sweet innuendos whispered between the sax and the trombone.  Part 2’s jaunty opening features a bass-drum-piano groove with the horns gliding over top.  The instrumental ballad Downtime offers a romantic respite with the spotlight on Gilkes’ trombone, sounding trumpet-like.  Am I hearing shades of Miles Davis?  Armstrong-Parts 1 and 2, feature be bop (slow and fast).  The album closes with the lyrically splendid Thruway with Doob’s soft brushstrokes on the cymbals and the Gilkes trombone serenading McCaslin’s saxophone, sometimes singing in tandem.--Highly recommended for jazz seekers.



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