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Tim Coffman: Crossroads (2005)

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Tim Coffman: Crossroads How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

Add another promising trombonist to keep your eyes on! With his debut album, the Chicago-based Tim Coffman shows a keen sense of melody, arranging skills, and a style that is inspired by J.J. Johnson. Coffman's credentials indicate that he worked with David Baker and the Jamey Aebersold jazz education camps, as well as studio and show work for a vast variety of performers.

The music is presented in largely a sextet setting, with three quartet tracks and one duet. Coffman has wisely selected eight jazz standards and provided sparkling arrangements for them. On the sextet tracks, using the three-horn front line—trumpet, sax, trombone—the melody sounds brand new, as on the very familiar opening to Freddie Hubbard's "Sky Dive" or the jaunty Joe Henderson piece "Step Lightly." Scott Wendholt's trumpet is used very effectively in building some fine solos, as is Colby's tenor and soprano. On "Sky Dive," Colby slips in a double-timed bebop solo, showing his fluency in the style. Coffman himself is a melody player, and his solo work, as well as his take on the J.J. Johnson classic "Lament, is more of a tribute to the great trombonist per his lyrical playing than a mere recitation of the melody line.

Insofar as the standards go, Coffman's choice of "My Old Flame" is typical of an artist respecting the venerable ballad with appropriate shading from the group. The album ends with a duet between Coffman and bassist Kelly Sill on "Alone Together"... or should that be "Alone Two-gether"?

Track Listing: Yes Or No; Sail Away; Step Lightly; Crossroads; My Old Flame; Summer in Central Park; Sky Dive; Lament; Caravan; Alone Together.

Personnel: Tim Coffman: trombone; Scott Wendholt: trumpet; Mark Colby: tenor and soprano saxophone; Mike Kocour: piano; Kelly Sill: bass; Bob Rummage: drums.

Record Label: Blujazz Productions

Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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