Is New York the Mecca of jazz? Well, some would believe so. It was the meeting place for two trombonists, Jim Pugh and Eijiro Nakagawa, the latter a young player from Japan, the former a well-known American veteran. The two trombonists found common ground and recorded this album with a band that fits them like a glove. The music paves happy trails for the listener.
Pugh and Nakagawa combine well. In tandem, their lines flow smooth and easy. When soloing, each takes a different tack. Pugh is smooth and glides with a certain grace; Nakagawa is more pronounced and earthy, with a coiled but nevertheless tensile approach, making him a talent to watch.
The trombones get off with a fleeting nod to "Blue Rondo A La Turk" before settling into the Latin groove of "Leave it to Beaver." The beat is radiant and sunny, injected by Pugh and Nakagawa with just a hint of tension, keeping it interestingly taut before Andy Ezrin expands the parameters with a romping turn on the piano. Both trombonists taking the fine swinging tune "Slidework in A Flat" to the hilt, keeping the pulse exciting and pushing the edge without overwhelming it.
They can also play a slow tune with emotional impact, like "Someday My Prince Will Come." Pugh and Nakagawa set warm ensemble lines, then move into a domain of their own, treading a gentle path into the nuances to filter the depth of the song. Their lines criss-cross, bringing in a hymnal quality; a gentle passion ripples through to invest a distinct voicing.
Personnel: Eijiro Nakagawa: trombone; Jim Pugh: trombone; Andy Ezrin: piano; John Patitucci: bass; John