Wycliffe Gordon

Slidin' Home

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Trombonist Gordon is one of the most promising young jazz trombonists. Another out of the Wynton Marsalis groups to emerge as a leader, Gordon is joined by other top modern mainstream young lions as saxophonist Victor Goines, pianist Eric Reed, bassist Rodney Whitaker, and drummer Herlin Riley. As a technist, Gordon is quite impressive. He's able to play quick, clean lines, smear notes and phrases in a comedic fashion, or dig deep into bluesy, spirit-driven contexts. Of the six originals he contributes to this 13-selection project, "What?!" is the most hard boppishly pronounced in the Art Blakey/J.J. Johnson tradition. "Jolly Jume Jumey" is a happy, fun tune dedicated to his young son; "New 'Awlins," his take on the flavor of a Crescent city theme, is done faithfully but with reharmonized melody, while "Blooz...First Thaingh 'dis Moanin'" and "My God" are based on obvious themes, the former with Gordon's growling, laughing trombone served on a bed of romping blues, the latter a gospel-derived tailgate shouter. Gordon is also quite an arranger, overdubbing himself times three on the completely arresting "Mood Indigo," editing out horns and pasting them in discreetly for Thelonious Monk's "Green Chimneys," or stepping up the pace with Reed's vibrant piano on "It Don't Mean a Thing." Traditional songs get new clothes as on "St. Louis Blues" which starts off mucho mambo and goes back to standard swinging rhythms at the end, a nice adaptation of a well-used tune. "Amazing Grace," with just Gordon and Reed, is done rubato style, quite a nice way of playing it. Milt Grayson's depth-charged basso profundo vocal chords are featured once for "Do Nothin' 'Til You Hear from Me," while trumpeter Randy Sandke on "My God" and baritone saxophonist Joe Temperly for the ballad "Beauty's in the Eye" get cameo shots. There's some impressive, well-stated, never-overbearing music coming from a wide range of jazz- and church-derived sources by this group via Gordon, who easily ranks with Robin Eubanks and Vincent Chandler as trombonists to look out for in the years ahead.

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