Ed Neumeister

New Standards

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This self-produced and hard-to-find Austrian release features trombone phenom Ed Neumeister in a rare, intimate setting as leader of a first-class quartet. The American trombonist's classical music background is reflected in his carefully articulated lines and pristine sound, but as with Wynton Marsalis, Neumeister is equally at home playing jazz standards, as he does here with considerable aplomb. Boasting a comfortable three-octave range, the under-recorded Neumeister easily negotiates the changes to his complex "Spring Street," in which he leaps wide intervals with incredible speed, and on the signature Strayhorn tune "Take the 'A' Train," on which the trombonist soloed regularly during his time with the Duke Ellington Orchestra. In terms of technique, Neumeister can do it all, from exhibiting expansive range; spectacular agility; trills; and old-time, down-home, gut-wrenching effects with the wah-wah mute, something he displays to excellent effect on Jimmy Rowles' "The Peacock." At his best, as on the latter tune, the trombonist is one of the finest of his generation, an underrated giant waiting to be discovered. The only drawback is the lack of emotional depth on some of the tunes, in which a consistency in volume detracts from the overall effect. Nonetheless, for much of this recording, the trombonist brings his considerable bag of tricks to the table and leaves the listener largely satisfied, ready for more. His first-rate rhythm section, particularly drummer John Hollenbeck, is a big plus.

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