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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Bones & Tones: Bones & Tones

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Percussion might very well be the oldest form of communication known to man, but practitioners of the percussive arts are often relegated to supporting roles in the majority of today's music. When percussionist Lloyd Haber received an invitation to form a group for the 2009 Long Beach Jazz Festival, he fought this notion and put together Bones & Tones, which places percussion right at the center of the action. Using marimba and vibraphone as the lead voices, Haber formed a percussion-plus-bass quartet that's more “world music" than “jazz," though designations are of less importance than the music itself.

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Todd Isler: Soul Drums

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File under: drum/percussion showcase. Drummer/percussionist Todd Isler, on his sophomore effort, provides a diverting album that will perk up the ears of any student of rhythm and world-beat. To provide further variety, Isler's percussion solo tracks are spaced between ensemble tracks throughout the album.

Soul Drums opens with a very mainstream “Kalalau Trail," a remembrance of Kauai (Hawaii)'s ."..treacherous but gorgeous trail..." which, verifies Isler's description. It is also, a feature for Hawaiian tenor saxophonist Allen Won.

The influence of African, Brazilian and Indian percussion begins with “Waves of Kalalau," featuring Isler's frame drum ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Manhattan Bones: Tribute

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Calling all trombone enthusiasts! This septet includes four trombonists and devotes most of this album as an homage to jazz trombone moments of the past. Beginning life in Southern Maine as the “Maine Bones," this group gravitated to New York, took on a new identity, went through various personnel changes, and presents a tribute to trombone masters on its first album.

In addition to two original compositions by Scott Reeves, the album revisits J.J. Johnson's “Shutter-bug" from his mid-1950's Columbia date J.J. Inc.. “Shutterbug" is an unusual twenty-bar blues in which the the Manhattan Bones recreate Johnson's solo. ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Slide Hampton and the World of Trombones: Spirit of the Horn

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I wish my friend Bill Swanson were alive to hear this. Bill loved the trombone, and would have greatly admired this picturesque performance by Slide Hampton’s World of Trombones in concert at the Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild in Pittsburgh. This is wall-to-wall ‘bones, as Slide leads a dozen of the country’s finest through their paces and welcomes guest soloist Bill Watrous on Ray Noble’s “Cherokee,” Billy Strayhorn’s “A Flower Is a Lovesome Thing” and his own “Blues for Eric.”

Hampton, who turned seventy last year, is not only a marvelous player himself but knows how to bring out ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

The Capitol Bones Big Band: A Stan Kenton Christmas

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Here’s a generous helping of holiday cheer from the Capitol Bones Big Band that’s sure to help make anyone’s season happy and bright. Having somehow overlooked Stan Kenton’s album Merry Christmas more than forty years ago, I was delighted to learn that the DC-based Capitol Bones planned to record a new one using trumpets, mellophones and some of the original charts penned by Ralph Carmichael or Stan himself. Now that I’ve listened to the album, that delight has given way to admiration, as A Stan Kenton Christmas is even better than envisioned.

Inspired by Kenton’s earlier endeavor, ...



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