Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

4

Michael Dease: Father Figure

David A. Orthmann By

Sign in to view read count
Never underestimate a jazz musician's capacity for drawing on material from vastly different sources, deflating the ostensible dissimilarities, and producing vibrant sounds that don't hew to convention or expectations. From the music's early years, resourceful artists have been confounding audiences and critics alike by putting their stamp on anything that strikes their fancy, from gutbucket blues to pop ditties to art songs, and everything in between, ultimately leaving no stone unturned. Michael Dease's Father Figure, the trombonist's third disc for the Posi-Tone imprint in as many years, offers interpretations of Charlie Parker's "Confirmation" and Meredith Willson's "Marian The Librarian." Between Dease's arrangements and a fine band of young players, the bebop standard and the fluffy, endearing show tune from The Music Man sound as if they were meant to be on the same recording.

As if growing from the rich, buttery tone of the leader's trombone, the record gravitates toward a genial side of hard bop and favors a clear sense of direction over an excess of blowing. Smart, unfussy and pleasurable heads include spot-on tempos that are anchored by the outstanding young bassist Endea Owens. Dease's "Church Of The Good Hustler" possesses a jaunty, jazz march feel that's enhanced by drummer Luther Allison's sprightly buzz rolls. Alto saxophonist Markus Howell's wistful waltz, "The Pursuit For Inspiration," features a nice blend of the two horns and tasteful comments by pianist Glenn Zaleski and vibraphonist Behn Gillece. Dease's take on "Till There Was You," another song from the The Music Man, mixes a straightforward, heart-on-his-sleeve rendering of the melody with variations—an extended note here, a playful phrase there—that add another layer of sincerity to his interpretation.

Though tight ensemble playing is the record's most winning characteristic, there's no shortage of standout performances. Howell confidently strides through "Confirmation," displaying an impressive command of the bebop lexicon, tying together ideas in fresh ways, and packing a visceral punch in part by putting just the right amount of emphasis on each phrase. Gillece, a Posi-Tone regular as a co-leader, leader and sideman, digs deep for three gripping blues choruses on Grachan Moncur III's "Riff Raff." Zaleski's variegated "Marian The Librarian" improv retains the tune's fanciful flavor while shooting flares of soulful jargon, executing relatively brief sequences of grounded single note lines, and offering the occasional outre chordal burst. On the title track, Dease weaves a grab bag of sounds into a coherent statement, sounding gruff and grumpy one moment, silky smooth the next, quoting Bud Powell's "Persian Thoroughfare" at the onset of one chorus and Charlie Parker's "Buzzy" on another.

Chock full of Dease's good choices—in personnel, material, arrangements, tempos, and length of solos, Father Figure is companionable and stimulating from start to finish.


Track Listing: Church Of The Good Hustler; Brooklyn; Cry Of The Wolf; The Pursuit For Inspiration; Confirmation; Riff Raff; Annette's For Sure; Marian The Librarian; Wingspan; Til There Was You; Father Figure.

Personnel: Michael Dease: trombone; Behn Gillece: vibraphone; Glenn Zaleski: piano; Endea Owens: bass; Luther Allison: drums; Markus Howell: alto saxophone (1, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9); Immanuel Wilkins: alto saxophone (1, 2, 3, 5).

Title: Father Figure | Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: Posi-Tone Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Album Reviews
Read more articles
Bonafide

Bonafide

Posi-Tone Records
2018

buy
Reaching Out

Reaching Out

Posi-Tone Records
2018

buy
All These Hands

All These Hands

Posi-Tone Records
2016

buy
Father Figure

Father Figure

Posi-Tone Records
2016

buy
Decisions

Decisions

Posi-Tone Records
2015

buy
Relentless

Relentless

Posi-Tone Records
2014

buy

Shop

Start your shopping here and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Read Kresten Osgood Quintet Plays Jazz Album Reviews
Kresten Osgood Quintet Plays Jazz
By Dan McClenaghan
January 21, 2019
Read The Poetry of Jazz Volume Two Album Reviews
The Poetry of Jazz Volume Two
By Victor L. Schermer
January 21, 2019
Read Mesophase Album Reviews
Mesophase
By Glenn Astarita
January 21, 2019
Read Rasif Album Reviews
Rasif
By Chris M. Slawecki
January 21, 2019
Read Live at the Black Musicians' Conference, 1981 Album Reviews
Live at the Black Musicians' Conference, 1981
By John Sharpe
January 20, 2019
Read More Than One Thing Album Reviews
More Than One Thing
By Gareth Thompson
January 20, 2019
Read Wandering Monster Album Reviews
Wandering Monster
By Roger Farbey
January 20, 2019