The trombone is such a laid-back instrument that when it rises to lead a recording session, you know it will a low-key affair. And that's not a bad thing. Add to this the fact that teacher/bandleader Frank Darmiento employs a pianist and bassist who specialize in both electric and acoustic versions of their instruments and the results are a contrast of old and new sounds found on the trombonist’s new recording, Sudden Impact. Mr. Darmiento does his part of deepen the contrast by performing on both tenor and alto trombone.
First, the straight-ahead: Mr. Darmiento’s compositional style is thoroughly mainstream. His arrangements offer plenty of solo room for his quartet, who collectively takes full advantage of the leader’s generosity. Whether it is Darmiento’s "Lost in Aisle Seven" or the standard "Days for Wine and Roses," the swing is easy and the momentum solid. The title cut features Joel Robin’s electric piano sounding like a well behaved Chick Corea, quietly voicing behind the trombonist before embarking on his own vintage late ‘70s solo. Steve Milhouse joins Robins electrically with a beautifully burping bass pop. "Double Trouble" and "Crusin’" sport the same effective setup.
Perhaps most intriguing tune on the disc is "My Old Flame," complete with Darmiento’s opening prelude quote of Bach’s Cello Suite in G Major. The performance of the standard is quiet and understated, performed perfectly as the ballad it is. Darmiento performs on his "Lightening Always Strikes Twice" with an alto horn, which, like the saxophone counterpart, gives off a dry cool sound like the cold air wafting off of a martini. This song is the most modern sounding of the recording, all acoustic and very progressive. Sudden Impact is enjoyable all around.