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Frank Rosolino: The Last Recording (2006)

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Frank Rosolino: The Last Recording How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

Trombonist Frank Rosolino, as brilliant musically as he was troubled personally, led this studio date on August 1, 1978, roughly four months before he took his own life—as well as that of one of his two sons—and seriously wounded the other. Whatever demons haunted Rosolino, they were never visible when he was playing; what came out of his horn was pure genius, trombone artistry that was technically and musically in a class by itself. No one has ever mastered the 'bone as completely or wrested more from it, and perhaps no one ever will.

Three songs are represented here—Rosolino's "Waltz for Diane, Erroll Garner's "Misty and the Burke/Van Heusen standard "I Thought About You. There are radio edits and longer versions of "Misty and "You, plus two takes of "Diane, which presumably was written for Frank's manager, Diane Armesto, through whose untiring efforts the tapes were finally transferred to CD and released by Sea Breeze Records.

Rosolino is dazzling throughout, as one would envision, using his singular multiple-tonguing technique, perfect pitch, ample creative reservoir and unerring rhythmic awareness to sculpt a series of memorable statements. He also uses an electronic device called a multivider, which at times gives the impression of two or three horns playing in unison. It lends a slightly different sound to the mix but doesn't detract from Rosolino's inherent proficiency, which always comes through loud and clear. Even so, this is a quartet date, and Rosolino is the beneficiary of unflagging support from a blue-chip rhythm section—pianist Larry Willis, a superb soloist in his own right, stylish drummer Billy Higgins and stalwart bassist Kevan Brandon.

While this may not qualify as a definitive performance by Rosolino, any new music by a virtuoso who raised the bar for his peers and set the standard for generations of trombonists to come is welcome and appreciated. An important volume in anyone's Rosolino library.

Track Listing: Misty (radio edit); I Thought About You (radio edit); Waltz for Diane (take two); Misty; I Thought About You; Waltz for Diane (take one).

Personnel: Frank Rosolino: trombone; Larry Willis: piano; Kevan Brandon: bass; Billy Higgins: drums.

Record Label: Sea Breeze Jazz

Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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