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Bill Cantrall: Axiom (2008)

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Bill Cantrall: Axiom How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.



In mathematics, an axiom is a proposition that is assumed to be true without proof—used for the sake of study. In music, it can be accepted as truth with proof that a band with four horns, piano, bass and drums will create an excellent sound.



Trombonist and composer Bill Cantrall performed in Chicago with salsa groups, big bands and sat in with other musicians. After moving to New York, the New Jersey native pursued a master's degree in jazz performance while continuing to play salsa and other styles. Axiom is his debut release as a leader.



The rhythm section warms up the title song before the horns take lead. Ryan Kisor is out front on trumpet, but Cantrall and saxophonists Sherman Irby and Stacy Dillard blend in. After Rick Germanson's piano solo, Irby delivers a free-spirited solo on the alto, effectively squeaking during points of emphasis. Cantrall then solos. Throughout, Germanson, bassist Gerald Cannon and drummer Montez Coleman keep active in the background.



"Torrent," as the name implies, is a deluge of sound. With a dramatic underscore, the horns are in perfect sync. The piano and bass deliver a dark undercurrent during Dillard's tenor solo. Cantrall then steps forward before giving way to Kisor. The trumpet is smooth and clear. Then it's all stop, while Coleman solos, working the snare, toms and cymbals.



"Like I Said" has a swinging rhythm. The horns sing in unison on the melody. Kisor begins a series of solos. Dillard stretches out for a good bit before Cantrell comes in. Germanson and Cannon get their licks in, too. From start to finish, the rhythm section is tight.



Eight of the 10 tracks are Cantrell originals. The band also covers Cole Porter's "After You" and the Shertzinger/Mercer collaboration "Tangerine." Each song is more than six minutes, offering lots of freedom, and the musicians take advantage of it. Axiom lives up to its name.

Track Listing: Axiom; Minor Transgression; Shanice; Torrent; After You; Like I Said; Halfway House; Maker's (One); Maker's (Two); Tangerine.

Personnel: Bill Cantrall: trombone; Ryan Kisor: trumpet; Sherman Irby: alto sax; Stacy Dillard: tenor sax; Rick Germanson: piano; Gerald Cannon: bass; Montez Coleman: drums.

Record Label: Up Swing Records

Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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