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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Bert Thompson, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf



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BOB BROOKMEYER,
JIMMY CLEVELAND &
FRANK ROSOLINO

The Trombones Inc.

Poll Winners Records PWR 27302

 

 

1. Neckbones
2. Dues Blues
3. Long Before I Knew You
4. Soft Winds
5. Tee Jay
6. Lassus Trombone
7. It's All Right With Me
8. Polka Dots and Moonbeams
9. Old Devil Moon
10. Impossible
11. Heat Wave
12. I Found a New Baby

Track 1
Eddie Bert, Jimmy Cleveland, Henry Coker, Bennie Green, Melba Liston, Benny Powell, Frank Rehak - Trombones
Bob Brookmeyer - Valve trombone
Dick Hickson, Bart Varsalona - Bass trombones
Hank Jones - Piano
Wendell Marshall - Bass
Osie Johnson - Drums
 
Tracks 2, 4, 12 (partially)
Same as track 1 except
Bob Alexander - Trombone replaces Henry Coker
Milt Hinton - Bass replaces Wendell Marshall
 
Tracks 3, 5
Eddie Bert, Jimmy Cleveland, Melba Liston, Benny Powell, Frank Rehak, Henry Coker - Trombones
Bob Brookmeyer - Valve trombone
Dick Hickson, Bart Varsalona - Bass trombones
Hank Jones - Piano
Milt Hinton - Bass
Osie Johnson - Drums
 
Tracks 6, 9, 10, 12 (partially)
Marshall Cram, Herbie Harper, Joe Howard, Ed Kusby, Dick Nash, Murray McEachern, Pullman "Tommy" Pederson, Frank Beach - Trombones
George Roberts, Ken Shroyer - Bass trombones
Marty Paich - Piano
Barney Kessel - Guitar
Red Mitchell - Bass
Mel Lewis - Drums
Mike Pacheco - Congas
 
Tracks 7, 8, 11
Milt Bernhart, Bob Fitzpatrick, Joe Howard, Lewis McGrerry, Frank Rosolino, Dave Wells - Trombones
Bob Brookmeyer - Valve trombone
John Kitzmiller - Tuba
Marty Paich - Piano
Red Mitchell - Bass
Mel Lewis - Drums
 

 

In 1957, Meredith Willson's musical The Music Man started on Broadway and had as its signature tune Seventy-Six Trombones. Whether this had any impetus on this 1958 recording consisting of 27 trombones in various configurations is an interesting speculation. Nevertheless this trombone clambake between East Coast and West Coast trombonists turned out to be a deliciously conceived album.

In The Oxford Companion to Jazz, Gunther Schuller in his article The Trombone in Jazz states "the trombone is the only instrument in the Western music tradition that is virtually unchanged in its basic construction (shape and size) and technical function since its first appearance in the late fifteenth century". What has changed dramatically is the technical skill, pace, and adroitness of the players who use the instrument and that is certainly on full display in this welcomed re-issue by Poll Winners Records.

The first five tracks of the disc are from the East Coasters and they boast the advantage of having trombonist J. J. Johnson as the arranger as well as composer of Neckbones, Dues Blues, and Tee Jay. Johnson has been thought of as the originator of modern jazz trombone playing and thus brought his musical insights into what makes the trombone sound best. In listening to Johnson's arrangements, it not hard to detect his bop influences. Whereas the ensemble playing is at the forefront of the charts, there are some short, bright solos by members of the trombone section. Rehak and Brookmeyer dominate the first Johnson piece, and the latter two tunes have Bert, Green and Cleveland showing their stuff. Keeping all this together is the first rate rhythm section with the ever nimble Hank Jones at the piano offering a couple of succinct solos.

Tracks 6 through 11 give the West Coast group their chance to shine. The arrangements were equally split between Warren Barker and Marty Paich who also was the pianist on these sessions. Using the standard American songbook for the most part as the foundation for the jazz arrangements, the outcomes are nonetheless as persuasive as those of the East Coast players. There are a couple of standout solos to be acknowledged. Frank Rosolino does a wonderful turn on Polka Dots and Moonbeams and he pops up again along with that Frank Sinatra favourite Milt Bernhart in the Latin-driven chart Old Devil Moon. The final track is I Found A New Baby which was not included in the original LP. This is an edited performance combining the musicians from both coasts, but using a J. J. Johnson arrangement. While it is a discographer's worst nightmare, it provides a fitting ending to an engaging recording.

For all you lovers of the jazz trombone, here's a readymade feast for your ears.

Pierre Giroux



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