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John Jensen, the former lead trombone player for the Navy Commodores, has released his first CD with a musical agenda of well-known standards, but one. He is joined by a group of very good Washington, D.C. musicians, including veteran pianist Hod O'Brien. who is married to fine jazz singer Stephanie Nakasian. Jensen's technique is a bit different from others. He has a crisp, clean delivery, forsaking much of the slurring often found with fellow practitioners of the slide instrument. Jensen's large, liquid tone and staccato attack recalls the great Frank Rosolino. The staccato aspect is especially noticeable on the lengthy exploration of "Exactly Like You". It's difficult at best to maintain listening interest in solo trombone for more than an hour irrespective of how good the performer is, and Jensen is a bona fide virtuoso. Jensen tries to address this problem with some over dubbing on such tunes as "In a Sentimental Mood" where he becomes his own foil. He also gives his cohorts plenty of solo time. Long time D. C. performer Steve Abshire's guitar is prominent on several cuts, including a nice individual effort on "That Old Feeling". Steve Gilmore's bass is heard to good effect on "I Thought about You". But still, this album could have benefitted with the presence of another horn or two giving it more substance and body. I also believe that the inclusion of some jazz standards - - stuff that J. J. Johnson, Steve Turre or even Jack Teagarden played - - would have further tested Jensen's considerable technical and artistic ability and provided a more diverse program for the listener to become involved with. Perhaps next time out. In the meantime, this album is a find for those who are devotees of the trombone art.
Track Listing: That old Feeling; Polka Dots and Moonbeams; Exactly Like You; But not for Me; In a Sentimental Mood; Time after Time; Alone Together; Blues Among Friends; I Thought about You; Nobody Else But Me; You Don't Know What Love Is
Personnel: John Jensen - Trombone; Hod O'Brien - Piano; Steve Gilmore - Bass; Steve Abshire - guitar; Brooks Tegler - Drums; Sam "Seguito" Turner - Percussion
Years ago now--in Rhodesia--listening to Voice of America with Willis Conover I heard Bunk Johnson play When The Saints Go Marching In, and Billie Holiday sing Don't Explain. I knew then there was no other life for me than jazz.