Allen Hermann

The Jazz Trombone

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AllMusic Review by

Trombonists Carl Fontana and Allen Hermann join forces for a brilliant two-horn session in 2001, which turned out to be one of Fontana's last dates prior to his death in 2003. Although they had played together on a number of occasions, this is evidently the first time both men appeared on the same release. Fontana was an established veteran of many decades, while Hermann had concentrated on his career as a physicist before picking up the pace a bit as a player in the years leading up to this recording. Accompanied by a rhythm section including pianist Stefan Karlsson (who has made many fine CDs as a leader himself), bassist Bob Badgely (who spent six years with singer Joe Williams and also served as the house bassist in the long running jazz radio series Four Queens Jazz Night from Las Vegas), guitarist Curt Warren, and drummer Santo Savino, Hermann and Fontana complement one another's playing throughout the CD, which focuses primarily on standards. The brisk bossa nova setting of "It Might as Well Be Spring" removes any trace of melancholy from the song. The two horns salute the trombone duo J.J. Johnson and Kai Winding with their interwoven loping finale to "I'm Old Fashioned." Karlsson especially shines in the toe-tapping "Limehouse Blues" (a favorite standard that isn't a blues at all). Unfortunately, Fontana's horn sounds rather muddy in "Emily" due to overmodulation, while Badgely's bass seems to be buzzing at times elsewhere on the CD. But the overall feeling of this meeting is one of pure delight, as the sun sets on the career of one gifted musician and belatedly rises on that of another.

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