Jazz guitarist Kenny Burrell once discussed his views on playing music by making a point that, "you are unique, be yourself, put out that thing that is you, then use your work ethic and produce great music." Trombonist Michael Dease embodies the spirit of Burrell's statement. Dease is a dedicated musician who is rapidly making a name for himself as both a recording artist and an educator. He won the Downbeat Critics Poll for rising star trombonist along with winning two Grammy awards. He is a highly sought after session musician, appearing on over 200 recordings. Dease has worked with an eclectic group of artists including David Sanborn, Christian McBride, Michel Camilo, and Alicia Keys. Along with recording and performing, he is also on the faculty at Michigan State University and currently serves as the Director of the Jazz Institute at Brevard Music Center in North Carolina.
His time at Brevard is the primary focus of his album, Give It All You Got, his eighth release for Posi-Tone Records. Each of the compositions on this album relates to important moments related to his experience at the institute. In the artist notes, Dease explains that teaching music is hard work, but also very rewarding, and the only way to be successful "is to give the music all you got, all the time." The core group of musicians on Give It All You Got includes Dease on trombone, Gregory Tardy tenor saxophone, Anthony Stanco trumpet, Jim Alfredson organ, Ulysses Owens, Jr. drums, and Gwendolyn Dease percussion. The album also features guest performances by Luther Allison on drums, and Sharel Cassity on alto saxophone, Brooklyn Dease on percussion, and Randy Napoleon on guitar. Many of the included compositions reflect Dease's philosophy of dedication and hard work. For example, "The Next Level" presents something of an implied metaphor of a musician's progress. The song begins with a challenging riff, but levels out to a nice groove allowing for improvisation. "Climb The Mountain" is another piece which exemplifies Dease's concept with its building intensity throughout the song. Both of these songs exemplify a musician's experience moving from what seems challenging to accessible through practice and training.
Dease also describes how playing with someone leaves a mark, and that impression continues through the music. Such is the case with "Sliver of Silver," which was inspired by Randy Brecker's time at Brevard. Miles Davis composition "Milestones." "Dave's Boogie Down" pays homage to David Sanborn, a musician who had been one of Dease's heroes from childhood. Dease achieved one of his own milestones when he eventually became a member of Sanborn's band.
Give It All You Got features a variety of jazz styles. From the mid-tempo coolness of "Word To The Wise" to the bossa infused "Ritmo De Brevard" or the bluesy funk of "Transylvania County Funk Parade," the album gives each musician a chance to showcase their talent in a variety of grooves. Each song on the album seems to lift the spirits, and overall a positive energy permeates the album. With this album, Dease shows how hard work and determination pay off in the long run.
A Sliver Of Silver; The Next Level; Parker's Fancy; Word To The Wise; Dave's Boogie-Down; Ritmo De Brevard; Lake Toxaway Getaway; Zanderfied; Climb The Mountain; Transylvania County Funk Parade
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