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Chris Washburne and the SYOTOS Band: Land of Nod

Woodrow Wilkins By

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If radio play is an accurate indicator of what people want, then the trombone is an under-appreciated, perhaps even unwanted lead instrument. Fortunately, those who play the instrument ignore such perceptions. Chris Washburne, whose musical interests cut across multiple genres, is among them.

Leader of the Latin band Syotos, Washburne has been around the world, performing with such notables as Tito Puente, Celia Cruz, Gloria Estefan, David Byrne, Justin Timberlake, the Duke Ellington Orchestra, Arturo Sandoval and Leslie Uggams. Syotos' Paradise in Trouble (2003, Jazzheads Records) was nominated as the Best Latin Jazz Record of 2004 by the Jazz Journalists Association. And Washburne is a co-leader of NYNDK, a jazz group comprised of European and American musicians, which was awarded a DaNY Arts Grant this year, sponsored by the Danish Cultural Ministry for jazz composition.

Chris Washburne and the Syotos Band shows off the trombonist's talents as musician and composer. "Pink, one of five tracks written by Washburne, is a lively, sassy tune that features a playful piano solo by Barry Olsen. With Leo Traversa on bass, Vince Cherico on drums and Chembo Corniel on congas, the Latin flavor is evident throughout. John Walsh adds a nice trumpet solo.

"Blue Gust has a slight reggae edge to it, as Washburne and the band get down and funky. The leader sets the pace early, punctuated by Cherico's crash cymbals in all the right spots. Walsh and Olsen contribute solos. Ole Mathisen chimes in with another blistering solo, underscored by Washburne and Walsh.

The band really smokes on "Op-Ed, a thrilling piece composed by Mathisen, who takes point early in the track. His frantic solo is the highlight of this song, aided superbly by Cherico's work on the snare and hi-hats. Washburne ends the album with covers of two songs by the same name, "Peace. Written by Ornette Coleman and Horace Silver, respectively, these represent different ways to share Washburne's desire to end wars.

Chris Washburne and the Syotos Band offers a variety of moods, all with Latin flavoring. On both the originals and the covers, Washburne shows that he's in the same company as other present-day trombonists, a list that includes Nick Lane, Dick Griffin and Bill Reichenbach.

Track Listing: Pink; Off-Whte; Blue Gust; Op-Ed; Oi Ne Khody Hrytsin Tai na Vechornysti; Guantanamo; Land of Nod; Peace; Peace.

Personnel: Chris Washburne: trombone, percussion; John Walsh: trumpet; Ole Mathisen: tenor saxophone, clarinet;Barry Olsen: piano; Leo Traversa: bass; Vince Cherico: drums; Chembo Corniel: congas. Special Guests: Bobby Sanabria: percussion; Malken Derno: Korean gong.

Title: Land of Nod | Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Jazzheads


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