Clifton Anderson: Decade (2009)
Best-known for playing and producing with his famous uncle Sonny Rollins (who gave him his first trombone when he was only seven), trombonist Clifton Anderson is back with Decade, his second album as a leader.
A little more than a decade has, in fact, passed since his first effort. All good things to those who wait, as this new collection of standards and originals is a clear improvement over Landmarks (Milestone, 1996).
The lineup features other talented Rollins' band mates, as well as more famous names including saxophonist Kenny Garrett and bass virtuoso Christian McBride, but the accent here is on simplicity. While there is ample room for inventive soloing and clever arrangements that bring new life to the standards, as with the use of percussion on "I'm Glad There is You," the sheer joy and free-flowing swing of tunes like "Deja-Blu" are more likely to capture the attention.
Perfectly at ease with different styles and tempos, Anderson seems, at times, to still be struggling to develop a personal and instantly recognizable sound. At 51, maybe he'd better put aside his successful career as a producerhe worked on Rollins' Grammy-nominated Sonny, Please (Doxy, 2006)and concentrate a little more on his own music.
Track Listing: Noble; So Wrong About You; I'm Old Fashioned; Z; I'm Glad There is You; Deja-Blu; If; Aah Soon Come; We'll Be Together Again; Stubbs.
Personnel: Christian McBride: bass; Steve Jordan: drums; Bob Cranshaw: bass; Kimati Dinizulu: percussion; Kenny Garrett: alto saxophone; Larry Willis: piano; Eric Wyatt: tenor saxophone.