Trombones: Slide Hampton, Bill Watrous, Jay Ashby, Michael Boschen, Steve Davis, Hugh Fraser, David Gibson, Andre Hayward, Isaac Smith, Benny Powell; bass trombones: Tim Newman, Douglas Purviance , Max Seigel, David Taylor.
Marty Ashby, guitar/banjo; Victor Jones, drums; John Lee, bass; Larry Willis, piano.
Fourteen trombones in total; they must have looked pretty awesome before they even played a note. They begin by slipping effortlessly into a zippy "Cherokee", soloists Slide Hampton and Bill Watrous showing how easy it all is on this most cumbersome of instruments. There is something immensely fulfilling in a brass ensemble, it's sound to the ear can be both restful and satisfying. Care with arranging is paramount; eight of the eleven tracks were arranged by Slide Hampton who produces shades of light and dark, a touch of brooding, plenty of sentiment and sometimes a hint of menace. "A flower Is A Lovesome Thing" soloed by Bill Watrous can find the sentiment. Six tracks represent the 'Tribute Suite', songs that have all had an influence on Slide Hampton. Starting with "Lament; Basin Street Blues", Slide takes the solo on "April In Paris" and David Gibson on "Lester Leaps In". The final two are John Coltrane's "Moment's Notice" and Herbie Hancock's "Dolphin Dance". Despite all these heavy weights the rhythm section is not eclipsed by any means; really worthwhile contributions from the piano of Larry Willis, the guitar and banjo of Marty Ashby, solid bass from John Lee and holding it all together the drums of Victor Jones. "Walkin' N Rhythm", arranged by Max Seigel is an example of fine ensemble playing; the bass trombones producing really juicy sounds that give a feeling of well being and pleasure. This is a slippery, sonorous set, fine trombone playing and no little vision to attempt such a CD; this is for brass players everywhere.
by Ferdinand Maylin
Jazz Now Interactive
Copyright Jazz Now, April 2003 issue, all rights reserved