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Bob McChesney: No Laughing Matter

Jim Santella By

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Steve Allen’s songs provide a starting point for the Bob McChesney Quartet to hand out a healthy portion of its modern mainstream stew. Combining the trombone’s somber timbre with an excellent rhythm section, McChesney elaborates on each fundamental melody. All ten songs are by Steve Allen, but they were written at various points in his career. Yes, Allen has written over 8,000 now.

Throughout the session, plenty of time is allotted to solo time from pianist, bassist, and drummer. But it’s McChesney’s session, and he is in fine form. The trombonist disguises the melody of a blues based "Chittlins" by taking it at breakneck speed. The superb articulation and tricky positioning heard on this number should be taught in clinics. Actually, it is. McChesney, 44, is a working clinician as well as a studio musician and member of the Bob Florence Limited Edition big band in Los Angeles. One of Allen’s more recent songs, "Road Rage" is purposely up-tempo and pushy. McChesney’s trombone is at its best in this hard bop tradition, while the arrangement allows room for piano and drums to step up. There’s nothing like a powerful drum solo to express road rage. McChesney’s driving mainstream jazz session makes no reference to Steve Allen’s celebrity comedian status other than the album’s title. Fortunately, the trombonist has chosen for his recording debut to drive straight ahead.


Track Listing: Meet Me Where They Play the Blues; Time; Road Rage; Pretty People; Chittlins; Steve

Personnel: Bob McChesney- trombone; Matt Harris- piano; Trey Henry- bass; Dick Weller- drums.

Title: No Laughing Matter | Year Released: 2000

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