Dave Chamberlain’s Band of Bones’ recital is a gloriously deceptive one. For here is no familiar programme of New Orleans music but an enterprising and enthralling challenge for both trombonist and listener. Opening with the King Porter Stomp from the pen of Jelly Roll Morton – a very modern tribute to early jazz – Mr. Chamberlain then abruptly changes course with Hendrik Meurkens’ Sambatropolis and a world that is shuffling and dusty, like the streets of Rio yet addressing the emotions and communicating joy and warmth. Then later follow Billy Strayhorn’s A Flower is a Lovesome Thing, already a far cry from the elemental King Porter Stomp and finally Lynn Welshman’s Pavane & Stomp and the traditional Amazing Grace.
All this could set even the most intrepid virtuoso explorer like Dave Chamberlain by the ears, yet the trombonist’s musical intention is always paramount. He storms the Jelly Roll Morton standard with full-blooded romanticism and finds all the sultry and romantic atmosphere of the Billy Strayhorn original A Flower is a Lovesome Thing. If all of this and more betray the influence of the trombone elders such as JJ Johnson and other ancestors they are also highly individual and distinguished, their often playful quality ironically surfacing through a formidable intricacy. Memories of (Mr. Chamberlain’s) earlier work flicker through the Meurkens piece as well as other composers while Band of Bones Blues recalls Al Grey in all of his greatness. More to the point, Dave Chamberlain plays with unfaltering bravura and conviction and his challenging lead has also been superbly followed by the excellent ensemble.
That theory only bears out, though, if the music here is played as straightforward, accomplished and without overpowering ego. It’s a relief, then, that the music from Jelly Roll Morton composition onwards is just that – an admirable performance technically (with just enough of a stamp of his (Dave Chamberlain’s) own personality to make it distinctive), the tempo relationships make sense, and his musical argument is intelligent but uncomplicated. It is, then, the proper arbiter of the good and different things that follow, in the form of new works that in some way reflect all that is great about Jell Roll’s visionary sensibilities, from the evolution from simplicity to virtuosity of Billy Strayhorn’s compelling ballad to less conceptual references to the stomp such as the ghostly phrasing of Pavane & Stomp.
I could go on picking out highlights from every piece – the call-and-response in Blues, the subtle rubato in Chega de Saudade, the infamous studies in thirds and sixths of King Porter Stomp, the soaring spirituality of Amazing Grace – the moments and passages which make me listen afresh to these familiar works and in some cases, hear things of which I had been previously been unaware. The greatest on the disc? I don’t know; but the Todd Anderson’s arrangement of Billy Strayhorn’s lovelorn Flower is one of the most consistently inspired, masterfully executed and beautiful-sounding versions of that great song that I can recall. All ‘bone fans must have this disc for all of these reasons and more.
Track List: King Porter Stomp; Sambatropolis; The Sweetest Sounds; A Flower is a Lovesome Thing; Flat Black; Band of Bones Blues; Chega de Saudade; Delilah; Is You Is, or Is You Ain’t, My Baby; Pavane & Stomp; Amazing Grace.
Personnel: Dave Chamberlain: leader, trombone, flute & vocal; Guest Artist – Hendrick Meurkens: harmonica; Kat Gang: vocals; Kenny Ascher: piano; Jerry DeVore: bass; Mike Campenni: drums; Chembo Corniel: congas & percussion (2, 4, 5, 7, 8 & 10); Charley Gordon: trombone; Sara Jacovino: trombone; Nate Mayland: trombone; Matt McDonald: trombone; Mark Patterson: trombone; Chris Rinaman: trombone; Max Siegel: bass trombone; Dale Turk: bass trombone.
About Dave Chamberlain
Raised in Buffalo, Dave Chamberlain began playing trombone at the age of ten, inspired by watching his four cousins playing in a brass quartet on the Ed Sullivan Show. He began doubling on flute in high school, going on to earn a B.S. degree in flute, and later an M.S. in trombone. His primary teachers have been Anthony Gorruso, John Wummer, Carmine Caruso, John Swallow, and John Rojak. Read more…
In Conversation with Trombonist, Composer, Arranger Papo Vázquez
Miguel de Armas: Miguel de Armas and The Ottawa Latin Jazz Orchestra
Django Festival Allstars with special guest Edmar Castañeda Featuring Dorado Schmitt and sons Samson & Amati
Christian McBride’s New Jawn at Koerner Hall: Concert Review
Papo Vázquez Holiday Jazz & Latin Jazz Parranda with The Mighty Pirates Troubadours
Donald Vega: As I Travel
“They Shot The Piano Player” Screening At The Village East in New York And The Royal in Los Angeles
Una Navidad Nuyorkina: Celebrating 40 Years of Los Pleneros de la 21
The Latin Side of Jazz Episode 35
Sebastian Schunke: Existential Intensities
NPR’s A Jazz Piano Christmas with Melvis Santa, Alfredo Rodríguez and Hilario Durán
Gonzalo Rubalcaba: Borrowed Roses
Juan García-Herreros – The Snow Owl: Normas
Raphael Cruz Reaffirms His Commitment To Latin Jazz!
Edy Martínez, the Music Architect Behind the Piano
Rubén Blades con Roberto Delgado & Orquesta · Son de Panamá
Celebrating Emiliano Salvador and his Musical Legacy
Cubano Be, Cubano Bop: A Memorable Night in Toronto with Poncho Sánchez
A Conversation with Percussionist, Bandleader Poncho Sanchez
The Odyssey of Anat Cohen
Paquito D’Rivera & Quinteto Cimarrón: Aires Tropicales
Have You Seen My Nana? The Enduring Genius of Moacir Santos
Enrique Rodríguez: Enriquito – Me Quito El Sombrero
Roberto López Afro-Colombian Jazz Orchestra: Azul
Most Read in 2023
Featured Albums9 months ago
Aymée Nuviola feat. Kemuel Roig: Havana Nocturne
News10 months ago
Wilson “Chembo” Corniel Releases New Album: “Artistas, Músicos y Poetas”
News10 months ago
Aymée Nuviola To Release New Latin Jazz Album: “Havana Nocturne”
Events8 months ago
Tito Puente and Tito Rodriguez Centennial Celebration