Published since 2007
Bouchard, associate professor of writing at Berklee College of Music, contributes articles to AAJ, Downbeat, and writes columns on wines and nature.
3 Trombone Solos
Though the vocalizing of jazz lines and effects on wind instruments is famously attributed to saxophones, cogent arguments can be made for trombones, as well. The large traditional trombone embouchure itself allows for wide expressiveness, but players also can adapt and plug in mouthpieces for tuba, trumpet, even woodwinds. The glissando capability allows deft emotional nuance. Further timbral shadings can be achieved using the legendary array of colorful mutesstraight, hat, plunger, cup, chamois, Harmon and many more, some homemade. Players with signature 'vocal' sounds include gutbucketer George Lewis, guttural smoothie Quentin "Butter" Jackson, squawky-talker Ray Anderson and bop boomer Steve Turre (who enhances his arsenal with a crateful of conch shells). Today much experimentation is done (or at least recorded) among Europeans; here Wolter Wierbos (Netherlands) and Denis Beuret (Switzerland) polarize as if the yang and yin of sackbuttersexpressing organic pulsing vs. synthetic arrhythmia.
Wierbos plays his horn straight from the shoulder in 20' sets on 3 Trombone Solos before audiences in "Chicago," "Portland [Oregon]" and "Amsterdam." He's warm and fuzzy, bear-huggy, witty, zany, gritty. A little engine that can, he'll chug along good- naturedly or wheeze steam into the station. In "Chicago" he nods at Mr. Lucky, then goes into gutsy, chugging, with bluesy/folksy multiphonics. After a spooky start in "Portland" fog, he seldom strays from dance rhythms (saucy tango, galumphing clog dance) with a zooful of effects (squabbling geese, bowser worrying a chew-bone, snuffling bears, trumpeting herons.) At home in "Amsterdam," he introduces buzzing bees, comical Punch-and-Judy vocalizing, flipping hats quickly from braying Pinocchio to moping Pulcinella. An 'encore' track delves into 'bone history via Dicky Wells shrieks and smears, JJ Johnson stutter-stepping (and a little soft shoe) and a long fade duetting with open (muted)/soft (loud), using that woeful tool, the plunger mute blazoned on his CD.
Beuret's more an arms-length tin man or cerebral wizard of 'ahs!' on Alone. In the relative discomfort of the studio, he parses wide textural panoplies (new digitalia, mutes, mouthpieces) and sonic effects through electronicalazy or manic loops, chorale-like voicings, buzzing undercurrents. "MaxLoop3" examines boppish staccato with Knepper-isms plus tuba and trumpet overlays; "NuovLoop2" employs an ultimately brain-trampling loop of stampeding elephants over a multiphonic wasp swarm. He's gotta be blowing a tuba mute creating a 'ground bass' layer for "MP-04." Aural images of haunted dovecotes, encroaching foghorns, bursting fishtanks, gobbling turkeys and whooping cranes ebb and flow ominously. Many effects conjure alien video games: orc march, blasted control room bweeps, dry loops like machine monitors, with a human trombone voice buried within. The overall effect is difficult, demonic, cumulatively assaultive.
Tracks and Personnel
3 Trombone Solos
Tracks: Chicago; Portland; Amsterdam
Personnel: Wolter Wierbos: trombone.
Tracks: MP-01; MP-02; MP-03; MaxLoop03; MaxLoop06; MaxLoop10; Polyloop02; Polyloop08; Nouvloop02; Nouvloop03; MP-04; MP-05.
Personnel: Denis Beuret: bass trombone.
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