Luis Bonilla: Twilight (2010)
I Talking Now! (Planet Arts, 2009) presented a brazen bonanza of trombone playing from Luis Bonilla. That high energy outingfilled with intense, outspoken instrumental wonderscontained great music that was, to some extent, one-sided in the way that it portrayed Bonilla and his quintet.
Twilight, on the other hand, is a well-balanced feast for the aural senses. The majority of the personnel from his prior recording is kept intactthe only major roster shift coming at piano, with Bruce Barth taking on the role that Arturo O'Farrill formerly heldand fans of Bonilla's raunchy and aggressive side will still find much to love. "The Moon And The Sun" features some wildly fluttered fare from Bonilla and tenor saxophonist Ivan Renta, though the song initially presents itself as a relaxed, wandering piece. Once the initial episode ends, a bass riff joins with drummer John Riley's modernized Mozambique-like groove, in seven, and all bets are off as the horn players dig in. The title track is another example of misdirection, with sleepy Barth-based work and beautifully textured horn lines leading the way before a more outwardly aggressive section of music takes hold.
The other material is a mixed bag of styles, with different intentions and ideas at play. The dramatic, momentary tempo shifts on "Vertigo" are seamless and impressive. Riley's stripper shuffle on "Cork Grease," along with Barth's organ sounds, give the music a barroom blues tint. The drummer's slow swing gait, shifting between measures of four and five, is a treat on "Double Trouble," and Barth slips some blues-drenched licks in between horn statements. Reverence and soul meet head-to-head on "Let It Be Said," with Barth providing a gentle, church-inspired bed of sounds beneath some trombone playing that defines grace and gentility. Renta's work is sleek and soulful, without being clichéd. "Visions" might begin with an eerie, foreign presence and chilling wind, but the horn players heat things up, with guest French Hornist Vincent Chancey joining the group.
Twililight is the dawn of a new day for trombonist Luis Bonilla.
Track Listing: Twilight; The Moon And The Sun; Double Trouble; Vertigo; Blind Faith; Let It Be Said; Visions; Cork Grease.
Personnel: Luis Bonilla: trombone; Ivan Renta: tenor saxophone; Bruce Barth: acoustic piano, fender rhodes, hammond C3; Andy McKee: acoustic bass; John Riley: drums, percussion; Vincent Chancey: french horn (7).