64

Marshall Gilkes: Sound Stories

Dan Bilawsky By

Sign in to view read count
Lyrical strains and muscular machinations are a counterintuitive combination, but trombonist Marshall Gilkes is living proof that they need not be mutually exclusive methods of musical dissemination. Gilkes has made a name for himself through his work with Colombian harp hero Edmar Castaneda, the Maria Schneider and many others, but the full scope of his talents is better observed on his own albums.

Gilkes first gained wide recognition with "Puddle Jumping," from his 2004 debut, Edenderry (Alternate Side). His unerring accuracy on difficult-to-execute creations of his own design, along with his tonal clarity and sense of melody, immediately marked him as an important new voice. Since that time, Gilkes has lived up to and surpassed expectations, and he's made a name for himself as one of the guiding light trombonists of his generation.

His sophomore release, Lost Words (Alternate Side, 2008), was more nuanced, but Sound Stories bests them both in the category of compositional brilliance. Gilkes takes a page from Schneider's book, painting with rich harmonic color schemes and developing his ideas in through-composed fashion, but on the smaller scale of his quintet. Gilkes brings tenor saxophonist Donny McCaslin—another Schneider-associated all star—aboard for this project, and he proves to be the perfect complimentary horn voice to fill out the front line. McCaslin is a rare artist who can sear eyebrows off with his intense playing, and then turn around a minute later and make people sigh at the beauty of his horn. Both skills prove to be useful during this program.

Sound Stories contains eleven Gilkes-penned pieces that showcase his round sound, exacting ideals and big picture, compositional thinking. The two-part "Presence" opens with crisp horn work and moves along in hurried fashion, eventually settling into a comfortable place. "Anxiety," another two-movement work, starts without any anxious intent, but "Part 2" lives up to the title. Later, Gilkes introduces "Slashes" with a "Puddle Jumping"-like line, but this song takes a far different path than that earlier piece, demonstrating how far Gilkes has come as a composer.

While Gilkes and McCaslin are both artists worth marveling at when they reach a boiling point, and the rhythm section fully excels in this area as well, the most memorable aspects of this album are the gentler moments. Gilkes and McCaslin both dole out beautiful, dovetailing lines that melt in mid-air countless times throughout this program; the results are always breathtaking.

While Gilkes seemed to arrive on the scene as a fully formed, astoundingly talented entity, he has continually managed to further his artistry by leaps and bounds since his auspicious debut. Sound Stories furthers this notion, proving to be a sensational musical journey.

Track Listing: Presence Part 1; Presence Part 2; Anxiety, Part 1; Anxiety, Part 2; Downtime; Slashes; Bare; Armstrong, Part 1; Armstrong, Part 2; First Song; Thruway.

Personnel: Marshall Gilkes: trombone; Donny McCaslin: tenor saxophone; Adam Birnbaum: piano; Yasushi Nakamura: bass; Eric Doob: drums.

Title: Sound Stories | Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: Alternate Side Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

Radio
Year in Review
Album Reviews
Interviews
Album Reviews
Read more articles
Always Forward

Always Forward

Alternate Side Records
2018

buy
Koln

Koln

OA2 Records
2015

buy
Köln

Köln

Alternate Side Records
2015

buy
Sound Stories

Sound Stories

Alternate Side Records
2012

buy
Lost Words

Lost Words

Alternate Side Records
2008

buy
Edenderry

Edenderry

Alternate Side Records
2005

buy

Upcoming Shows

Date Detail Price
Apr5Sun
Sfjazz Collective
Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts
Philadelphia, PA
$29

Related Articles

Read LP1 Album Reviews
LP1
By Dan Bilawsky
June 17, 2019
Read The Garden Of Earthly Delights Album Reviews
The Garden Of Earthly Delights
By Friedrich Kunzmann
June 17, 2019
Read Groove Machine Album Reviews
Groove Machine
By Don Phipps
June 17, 2019
Read Life in the Modern World Album Reviews
Life in the Modern World
By Nicholas F. Mondello
June 17, 2019
Read Live at I.C.U.U. Album Reviews
Live at I.C.U.U.
By Karl Ackermann
June 16, 2019
Read 789 Miles Album Reviews
789 Miles
By David A. Orthmann
June 16, 2019
Read Follow Me Album Reviews
Follow Me
By Roger Farbey
June 16, 2019