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Dennis Rollins is a British trombone player who’s worked with Maceo Parker, Marcus Miller and Roy Ayers. On his newest release, the 11th Gate (named after the date 11/11/11, which Rollins believes will usher in a new age of ‘Global Awareness’) he brings forth his new “Velocity Trio” which is comprised of Trombone, Organ, and Drums.
This is not a groove-oriented release, though there are grooves to be found on the 11th Gate. Instead, the trio takes a more subdued, nuanced approach in creating textures and spiritualized cerebral fields for the listener to explore.
Rollin’s trombone playing is unique, he has a sort of “cool” sensibility on the instrument and a strong tone that’s identifiable. On tunes like “The Other Side” his playing matches well with the Hammond Organ of Ross Stanley, who’s notes and playing are reminiscent of cosmic raindrops falling from some far part of the galaxy. Drummer and latin percussionist Pedro Segundo holds the session together with sharp flourishes and mellow conga pats thoughout the recording. Even though it’s been done to death, the trio finds some new territory to forge inside a rollicking version of Eddie Harris’ “Freedom Jazz Dance” which shifts tempo and time-signatures without losing the groove (or the listener).
While the 11th Gate may not be a full-fledged concept album, it does take the listener on a trip through the intellect of this great composer and player. Best of all, it’s a solid listen the whole way through, worthy of a place in your collection.
-Matt Fleeger, Program Director
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This band bursts forth with jet fueled energy on the opener, “Caravan.” It’s not just the zest with which they attack the Juan Tizol classic. The arrangement itself is classic, and the interplay of the reed section near the end is both startling and brilliant.
The zest continues with “On Green Dolphin Street” and a throbbing baritone solo by Doug Morgan followed by a top notch trombone effort by Joe Jackson.
Ballads? Yes, there is a gem version of “Body and Soul” with solos by trombonist Jeff Martin and pianist Tony Nalker. Blaylock sticks to familiar selections like; “Stella by Starlight,” “Oleo,” “All the Things You Are,” “ Love for Sale,’ “Cherokee,” and “Warm Valley,” but oh, so well done.
for more: Dick’s Blog
Sean Jones: ”The Search Within”
By Dick Bogle
No standard tunes here, as young trumpet star Sean Jones pauses for a look within, and as a result, we are beneficiary to ten tunes written by Jones and two written by others.
Jones’ band is a very good one with pianist Orrin Evans, bassist Luques Curtis, alto saxophonist Brian Hogans, tenorist Walter Smith and drummer Obed Calvaire. Special guests include Gregoire Maret on harmonica, Erika Von Kleist on flute, percussionist Kahlid Bell and vocalist Carolyn Petiete.
“Life Cycles” is a beautiful ballad with Jones switching to flugelhorn, and there’s no better example of a full steam ahead swinger than “The Storm,” on which Jones contributes a remarkable and unique trumpet solo. Saxophonists Hogans and Smith are also on top as well.