Tim Coffman's sophomore release provides a fine exhibition of how lyrical and soothing a trombone can actually be. Basing his music firmly in the hard bop of the early '60s Jazz Messengers, Coffman and his sextet crisply glide and breeze through a set of hard-driving jazz compositions.
On Wayne Shorter's "Yes or No," and Coffman's title piece, the leader and trumpeter Scott Wendholdt seamlessly weave articulate and facile solos that are thought-provoking, intricate and inviting. Wendholdt's gentle and warm playing grabs the spotlight on Tom Harrell's lovely "Sail Away" and almost runs away with the show on the bluesy, moaning "Step Lightly." Saxophonist Mark Colby adds fine harmony and gives a creatively restrained solo on the intricate "Crossroads."
Throughout the sextet pieces, drummer Bob Rummage is a sharp, precise driving force. But Coffman's brass shines the most on the smaller group pieces. Spotlighted on the quartet sessions, his trombone glistens and warmly caresses "My Old Flame" and J.J. Johnson's "Lament." Lilting on Horace Silver's "Summer in Central Park," the leader makes his instrument romantic and soothing.
With Crossroads, Tim Coffman makes a clear statement: remove your preconceived notions of the trombone. This is an instrument of seduction. Check out this new voice.
Personnel: Tim Coffman: trombone; Scott Wendholdt: trumpet; Mark Colby: tenor,
soprano saxophone; Mike Kocour: piano; Kelly Sill: bass; Bob Rummage: drums.