Trombonist Rick Culver, now based in Michigan, is a seasoned musician who has spent twenty years playing West Coast Jazz with the big bands of Kim Richmond, Bob Florence, Bill Holman, Gordon Brisker and many others. He has also toured with Buddy Rich, Glenn Miller and the Buddy De Franco big bands. His second album as a leader is I'm Old Fashioned
(the first was Painted Scarves
). His drum-less trio with pianist Jeff Kressler and bassist Nick Calandro performs six well-known standards and eight original Culver compositions of light, melodic straight-ahead jazz.
Three of the standards, the Mandel/Mercer piece "Emily," Jimmy Van Heusen's "Darn That Dream," and the often recorded Jerome Kern/Johnny Mercer title cut, are particularly notable. The trio treats these time-honored classics with gentle melodies, served up in soothing tones from the leader's trombone and Kressler's piano. Culver comes through with impressive performances on many of his own originals, like "How About That Kiss," "Shuffle Bored" and the swinging "Samba Ta Me," which also showcases another terrific Kessler piano run. Within the chosen limited boundaries of a trio without drums, it is important to note that Culver's arrangements provide plenty of solo space for each member of his group to display their skills. Culver is the one leading the music, however, setting the pace and direction of this set.
For some holiday cheer, take a listen to this rendition of "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town." It's convincing enough to recommend adding this disc to the Christmas listening list. The album ends with a beautiful new version of Antonin Dvorak's "Going Home," from the composer's Symphony No. 9 in E minor. Combining fourteen selections of cleverly arranged familiar standards with stellar, solo-packed new material, I'm Old Fashioned is an all-around enjoyable album that makes for easy listening.
Personnel: Rick Culver: trombone; Jeff Kressler: piano; Nick Calandro: bass.