7

Michael Dease: Relentless

Dan Bilawsky By

Sign in to view read count
Michael Dease: Relentless While rising star trombonist Michael Dease's previous albums have all been small group affairs, much of his sideman work has marked him as something of a large ensemble specialist. He's put his slide to good use in numerous big bands and jazz orchestras, including those led by Christian McBride, Charles Tolliver, Roy Hargrove, Rufus Reid, and Nicholas Payton. Given that information, it should come as no great surprise that Dease decided to make a go of fronting his own big band.

Relentless—the rising star trombonist's sixth album, and his first on the Posi-Tone imprint—finds Dease in charge of a group that's populated with other big band mainstays (trumpeters Seneca Black and Greg Gisbert), young jazz heavies (bassist Linda Oh, drummer Ulysses Owens, Jr., saxophonist Sharel Cassity), and a few welcome guests (trombonist Wycliffe Gordon and guitarist Andrew Swift). The program reads like a history of Dease's commissions and musical upbringing. He reclaims arrangements originally penned for Hargrove's group (Duke Pearson's "Is That So"), the WDR Big Band (Eric Alexander's "Little Lucas"), and the Webster Groves High School Big Band ("Webster Grooves"); he expands music previously recorded in a small group setting ("Relentless") and looks back on his early attempts at writing for big band ("The Takeover"); and he reshapes classics that he's learned to love over the years ("Two Bass Hit," I'm Glad There Is You," and "Autumn Leaves").

Dease's charts kick, swing, leave lots of room for soloists, and occasionally put each section to the test with fiery, finger-busting passages. It's not all high energy, adrenaline-fueled music, but the most memorable performances—"The Takeover," "Roppongi," and "Two Bass Hit"—tend to get the pulse racing in some way.

Groups like this tend to be studio-made bands, not working units, so it'll be interesting to see if Dease can get this group on the bandstand and develop what he's started. It's a unit with plenty of muscle, driven by a leader with boundless talent, so here's to hoping that Dease can keep it afloat and help it evolve.

Track Listing: Is That So; Force; Relentless; I'm Glad There Is You; The Takeover; Little Lucas; Roppongi; Two Bass Hit; Webster Grooves; Autumn Leaves.

Personnel: Michael Dease: trombone, musical director; Todd Bashore: alto saxophone, flute; Tim Green: alto saxophone, flute; Diego Rivera: tenor saxophone; Sharel Cassity: tenor saxophone; Tony Lustig: baritone saxophone; Adam Rongo: tenor saxophone (7); Seneca Black: trumpet; Greg Gisbert: trumpet; Alphonso Horne: trumpet; Etienne Charles: trumpet; Alex Norris: trumpet; Benny Benack III: trumpet; Anthony Stanco: trumpet; Tom "Bones" Malone: trombone; Jerrick Matthews: trombone; Coleman Hughes: trombone; Jeff Nelson: bass trombone; Ron Wilkins: trombone; Peter Nelson: trombone (7, 10); Wycliffe Gordon: trombone (10), vocals (8), slide trumpet (8); Miki Hayama: piano; Linda Oh: bass; Ulysses Owens Jr.: drums; Andrew Swift: guitar (7); Gwendolyn Burgett: percussion.

Title: Relentless | Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: Posi-Tone Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Eleven Cages CD/LP/Track Review Eleven Cages
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 27, 2017
Read Afro-Caribbean Mixtape CD/LP/Track Review Afro-Caribbean Mixtape
by Mark F. Turner
Published: June 27, 2017
Read Wake Up Call CD/LP/Track Review Wake Up Call
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 27, 2017
Read The Late Trane CD/LP/Track Review The Late Trane
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 27, 2017
Read Developing Story CD/LP/Track Review Developing Story
by Edward Blanco
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Lantern CD/LP/Track Review Lantern
by John Kelman
Published: June 26, 2017
Read "Blues I Felt" CD/LP/Track Review Blues I Felt
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 15, 2017
Read "Montréal" CD/LP/Track Review Montréal
by Roger Farbey
Published: February 11, 2017
Read "Six Easy Pieces" CD/LP/Track Review Six Easy Pieces
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 5, 2017
Read "Paris" CD/LP/Track Review Paris
by Mark Sullivan
Published: August 16, 2016
Read "Laughing At Life" CD/LP/Track Review Laughing At Life
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: January 27, 2017
Read "Syzygy" CD/LP/Track Review Syzygy
by Paul Rauch
Published: March 6, 2017

Smart Advertising!

Musician? Boost your visibility at All About Jazz and drive traffic to your website with our Premium Profile service.