Dick Shearer

Dick Shearer and His Stan Kenton Spirits

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The trombone became an important part of the Stan Kenton sound by the mid-'40s when Kai Winding was in Kenton's trombone section. Kenton was among the first to have five trombones in his band and the assertive 'bones were as much a part of his sound as that of screaming trumpeters and thick-toned saxophonists. On this project, Dick Shearer, a member of the Kenton orchestra for 13 years, teams up with fellow trombonists Dale Devoe and Scott Helborg and bass trombonists Robbie Hioki and Bob Kammermann plus a four-piece rhythm section to perform a set subtitled "Artistry in Trombones." Included is an arrangement apiece from Bob Curnow, Mark Taylor ("Just Bones"), Ken Hanna ("Naima"), and Hank Levy plus two from Dale Devore. Devore's lengthy "Tribute" has quotes from four songs associated with Kenton, including "Artistry in Rhythm." In addition to the three trombonists (the two bass trombonists unfortunately do not have any solo space), pianist Cecilia Coleman has a generous amount of solo space, most notably on "Naima" and "Altonee." However the emphasis throughout is on the sound of the trombone section, making this vintage if undated and brief release, which was probably recorded in the late '80s, well worth picking up by fans of the Kenton trombone sound.

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