Wycliffe Gordon

Dig This!!

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Trombonist Wycliffe Gordon was the most adventurous musician to spin off from Wynton Marsalis' orbit. Since his tenure with Marsalis, Gordon collaborated with everyone from revivalists in the Sidney Bechet Project to progressive composer Ted Nash and Randy Sandke's Inside Outside project, which brings together practitioners from the musical extremes. He's been more restricted in his own solo dates but has shown he's willing to reach beyond the confines of traditional hard bop. Dig This!! finds him employing the fashionable textures provided by the Hammond organ. True to form though, Gordon refuses to get locked into the funk clich├ęs of the organ combo sound. Rather with its wide-open swing feel Dig This!! comes off more as a contemporary version of swing trombonist Vic Dickenson's 1952 quartet dates with Bill Doggett. Certainly "Limehouse Blues" fits the mold, albeit updated. And Gordon's unaccompanied playing on "Blues Etude #2" and elsewhere shows him a fitting successor to Dickenson's rubbery expressionism. Gordon has surrounded himself with a fine band. Organist Sam Yahel and guitarist Peter Bernstein each reveal a debt to their swing precursors while saxophonist Seamus Blake plays in a hard-driving contemporary manner. All of them swing, and regardless the context Gordon puts himself in, that's a constant.

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