The Luis Bonilla Quintet Dizzy's Club March 19, 2013 For two nights only, trombonist Luis Bonilla brought his quintet to Dizzy's Club. The first set on the first evening launched off into an assured blast of convoluted style amalgamation. Many might view Bonilla as a Latin jazz specialist because of his Costa Rican background, but the Californian 'bone man bandleader's version of jazz skirts many different zones, usually within each individual composition. Opening with some sleazily slurred blues, the combo switched to ballad mood, transforming into a funk feel, with pianist Bruce Barth ...read more
I Talking Now! (Planet Arts, 2009) presented a brazen bonanza of trombone playing from Luis Bonilla. That high energy outing--filled with intense, outspoken instrumental wonders--contained 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 intact--the only major roster shift coming at piano, with Bruce Barth taking on the role that Arturo O'Farrill formerly held--and fans of Bonilla's raunchy and aggressive side will still find ...read more
Trombonist, composer, bandleader and professor Luis Bonilla is not a tortured artist. One cannot imagine him careening from one imbalanced extreme of self- reflection to the other or participating in anything particularly self-indulgent, whatsoever. He is a loving husband and a father who seems to inhale and exhale commitment to his two-year-old daughter. The middle son of a Costa Rican father and mother, he grew up in a workingman's home and is a hard working man himself, dedicated to getting the job done professionally and consistently. He is a humorist but not a cynic, able to paint quick, amusing sketches ...read more
The exuberant, New York-based, trombonist Luis Bonilla has been recording as leader since 1998, when he released Pasos Gigantes ("giant steps") on Candid. I Talking Now! is his fourth album. But he is still probably best known for his work with other artists. Currently a member of trumpeter Dave Douglas' Brass Ecstasy, Bonilla began the 1990s with trumpeter Lester Bowie's Brass Fantasy and has since worked with a string of illustrious leaders including pianists McCoy Tyner and Toshiko Akiyoshi, trombonist Willie Colon and singer Astrud Gilberto. Much of his experience is in big, or biggish, bands and he is a ...read more
The cover art for I Talking Now gives a visual demonstration of how trombonist Luis Bonilla's father took control of conversations at the family dinner table. When things got a little too animated for him, Bonilla's dad would bark out his signature admonishment, You Chuttup! I talking now!" Both Doctors Phil and Spock would probably take issue with that approach. However, it is, in essence, the same approach Bonilla has taken with his PlanetArts debut.
Along with being part of the many-headed monster called the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, Bonilla has worked with Lincoln Center's Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra and the Mingus ...read more
During its first seconds, Trombonilla's Terminal Clarity: Live at the Jazz Gallery sounds like a band tuning up or a bit of traffic gridlock with an impatient honk or two. But then it advances full swing into an enjoyable post-bop exploration worthy of intent listening. Luis Bonilla, a talented and focused New York-based trombone player, performs in several well-regarded big bands, including the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, Mingus Big Band and Arturo O'Farrill's AfroCuban Jazz Orchestra. But here, on this CD of originals recorded live at New York's Jazz Gallery, he gives voice to his own inclinations in ...read more