JC Sanford: Imminent Standards Trio Vol. 1

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
JC Sanford: Imminent Standards Trio Vol. 1
Trombone-led trios are few and far between, but Minnesota-based JC Sanford, a protégé of the late great Bob Brookmeyer, gives it a go with bassist Jeff Bailey and drummer Phil Hey on Imminent Standards Trio Vol. 1, whose title does not derive from imminent, as in "soon-to-be," but as in "Imminent Brewing," the trio's monthly performing space in Northfield, MN.

As for the album's groove, the trio has chosen relaxed, and glides easily through a program comprising four themes from the Great American Songbook and half a dozen jazz standards by such masters as Sam Rivers, Wayne Shorter, Thelonious Monk, Benny Golson, Freddie Hubbard and Duke Ellington. The mood is set on the opener, a barely recognizable reading of the Ray Noble flag-waver, "Cherokee," taken at a leisurely tempo that is certainly different if not entirely persuasive. Even Rodgers and Hart's "Where or When," nominally a ballad, is performed at an even slower pace than usual, one that borders on dirge-like. There are more visible signs of life on Monk's "Nutty," Hubbard's "Dear John" and the standard "It's You or No One," but elsewhere, solemnity prevails. Sanford says tunes and tempos were chosen shortly before the session, to assure spontaneity, so there was an unmistakable game plan.

Even though this is a trio date (Sanford's choice), it could have been appreciably enhanced by the presence of a piano. That is not meant to imply that Sanford, Bailey and Hey are not accomplished musicians; they are. On the other hand, the trombone can be a less than inspiring solo instrument, and a piano would have brightened the rhythmic framework. And unlike Brookmeyer, Sanford has no Gerry Mulligan or Stan Getz waiting in the wings to counterbalance his horn while adding color and variety.

As it is, the trio does the best it can given the boundaries within which it has decided to perform. Sanford and his teammates work well together, and solos are competent, albeit less than exceptional. It is simply a trim, well-mannered session, one which may not excite the senses but should not cause any undue distress.

Track Listing

Cherokee; Beatrice; Time After Time; Juju; Where or When; Nutty; It’s You or No One; Whisper Not; Dear John; Single Petal of a Rose.


JC Sanford: composer/conductor; Jeff Bailey: bass; Phil Hey: drums.

Album information

Title: Imminent Standards Trio Vol. 1 | Year Released: 2021 | Record Label: Shifting Paradigm Records

Post a comment about this album


Shop Amazon


Westward Bound!
Harold Land
Jazz Mix 12
Kris T Reeder
Horizons Quartet
Horizons Quartet
Gui Duvignau
On Fire
Bévort 3
Joshua Jern Jazz Orchestra


All About Jazz needs your support

All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded albums and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, limited reopenings and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary step that will help musicians and venues now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the sticky footer ad). Thank you!

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.