Robin Eubanks' electronic trombone is something else. Horn players have been trying for decades to create a vocal-like sound on their instruments. The plunger mute helped brass players when jazz was young. The electronic saxophone and EWI have allowed reed players to play harmony and create inspiring effects; yet, neither instrument has allowed sufficiently for vocal effects. Instead, flute players achieve their vocal effects through ' well ' vocalizing. Over the years, creative artists such as Lester Bowie have experimented with natural-sounding vocal sounds expressed through a horn. Eubanks' session comes a long way from early tailgate trombone and the timeless junior high school antics of creating kissing sounds or a horse's holiday neigh through the trumpet.
Combining hard core electronic experimentation with down-to-earth trombone artistry, Eubanks brings his latest album to a wider audience. Singing the blues, he works the electronic trombone through "Blues for Jimi," resembling the wordless vocals of scat singing. The fascinating sounds, while somewhat eerie at times, are placed in a tasteful jazz environment. A blues organ trio supports Eubanks as it would any emotional singer. Only the title track contains actual vocal expression. The other vocal-like exhibitions are through the electronic trombone. Several selections place Eubanks' trombone in a sextet format with modern mainstream originals. His brother, Duane, joins on trumpet for some hard bop hitting. A propelling rhythm section drives both brothers forcefully. Samples of two of the album's tracks are available at the trombonist's mp3 site .
Showing his true potential, Eubanks performs "Essie," a lovely trombone ballad, with Kevin Eubanks' acoustic guitar accompanying. Having recorded six CDs as a leader, Robin Eubanks has proven that he has an unyielding respect for jazz's traditions. Placed in this context, his highly individualized, singing, electronic trombone makes a warm addition to the jazz world and should encourage others to explore similar new avenues for expression.
Track Listing: Metamorphos; Get 2 It; Essie; REM State; Blues for Jimi; Cross Currents; RNB-First Take; Sabanna; House of Jade; Reunion; Indo; Audio Notes.
Personnel: Robin Eubanks- trombone, electric trombone, synthesizer, hand claps, vocals; Duane Eubanks- trumpet; Kevin Eubanks- acoustic guitar; George Colligan- piano, organ, synthesizer; Michael Cain- piano; Lonnie Plaxico, Dave Holland- bass; Gene Jackson- drums; Billy Kilson- drums, hand claps on "Get 2 It;" Mino Cinelu- percussion, hand claps on "Get 2 It;" Moka Kilson- hand claps on "Get 2 It;" Craig Handy- hand claps on "Get 2 It;" Maya Azucena- vocals on "Get 2 It."
I was first exposed to jazz when I was tiny. My earliest memory is watching Ella Fitzgerald scat on a Christmas special when I was no older than four. Like many who are from tiny towns, my first extended exposure was listening to the high school jazz band when I was a kid
I was first exposed to jazz when I was tiny. My earliest memory is watching Ella Fitzgerald scat on a Christmas special when I was no older than four. Like many who are from tiny towns, my first extended exposure was listening to the high school jazz band when I was a kid. For some reason I remember an arrangement of Hey Jude they did. My first real exposure was Stan Kenton in the Smithville, MO high school gym. Kenton and the band director there were old friends, so he would play there from time to time. My dad took me without telling me where we were going and it was the only show he ever took me to. I remember that Bobby Shew played Send In Clowns and I damn near levitated I was so excited. The huge sound and amazing chords floored me. I believe I was 13 at the time. I immediately started practicing and taking lessons. Music became a passion and nearly a career. I also listened to Dick Wright's Jazz Show on KANU every night. I can't even start to explain what I learned lying in bed listening to Dick talk about jazz. I met him once when I was struggling to put together a solo for Joy Spring playing in a combo at KU. Stopped by his office and asked for recommendations. He showed up at my jazz ensemble rehearsal the next day with a tape with example solos. What a kind man Dick Wright was.
My advice to new listeners is to stop worrying about what music is important and focus on music you like. I spent quite a bit of my music life listening to important music I didn't necessarily like. Must say I have quite a bit more fun now listening to music that I deeply enjoy. Some of it is even important.
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