Paul Hubweber: Loverman (2012)
Studio-recorded in July 2010, Loverman features nearly 41 minutes of solo trombone from Paul Hubweber across eleven tracks. As the album title hints, the focus of the album is on Charlie Parker, with five of those eleven tracks being Bird compositions, in addition to "Lover Man," made famous by the alto saxophonist. Despite those tracks, this never comes close to being a Parker tribute album; this is definitely not Hubweber playing bebop. In typical fashion, the trombonist uses the compositions as launch pads for his own improvised explorations and variations. Rather than playing a theme and then exploring it, he most often launches straight into the kind of extended investigations that other players might get to mid-way through a prolonged solo; along the way, he explores all sorts of tangents and side avenuessome in forensic detailwithout ever losing sight of the original source material, despite never explicitly playing it.
The album's remaining five tracks are all credited as Hubweber compositions, although they are clearly inspired by other pieces. "A Le U Cha" and "Nelson" are most obviously in the spirit of Parker, without ripping off actual melody lines from their inspirations. The three others display the breadth of Hubweber's listening and influences, often giving clues in their titles. The trombonist has released an album of music inspired by Frank Zappa, Zappn' (Konnex, 2011), by The Yellow Snow Crystals quartet, and Loverman's opener, "Evelyn," relates to "Evelyn, A Modified Dog" on Zappa's One Size Fits All (Ryko, 1975). Likewise, "Albärtz Lark's Tongues" can be listened to next to similarly titled pieces by King Crimson. "Here" sounds as if someone has done a cut-and-paste job on the sheet music for "Here, There and Everywhere," the end result being an extraordinary reworking of The Beatles' classic song.
It is often said that, above all other instruments, the sound of the trombone comes closest to replicating the human voice. Hubweber's playing provides powerful evidence in support of that statement; his notes are pure and true, with a human timbre that make his instrument sound as individual as a singing voice. Significantly, Loverman is subtitled Trombone Songs, and Hubweber's website also calls them "11 trombone solo love songs." Summing up the spirit of this venture, the entire album is one beautiful, prolonged serenadeand, already, one of the year's most engaging and beguiling releases.
Track Listing: Evelyn; Anthropology; A Le U Cha; BlueChi; Donna Lee; Here; Nelson; Lover Man; Scrapple; Albärtz Lark’s Tongues; Segment.
Personnel: Paul Hubweber: trombone.
Record Label: Cadence Jazz Records