New York trombonist Joshua Brown makes a clear statement of his musicality on the down-to-earth The Feeling of Jazz. With numerous accolades, grants, television gigs, and performances in and out of jazz, he brings a lot to the table, along with a bold sound and clear chops. His debut is a quartet effort covering nine selections, the majority of which are covers of standards. This would sound like a safe bet for a debut and primarily it is; but the results are fresh and reminiscent of a time when the music was simply for the enjoyment of a band and its audience.
Brown's support from the ace rhythm section of bassist Clovis Nicolas and drummer Philip Stewart is the recording's essential component but it's the addition of guitarist Randy Napoleon that helps the music to soar. Brown's warm brassy tone is perfectly matched with Napoleon's fluid and supple fret-wor,k as witnessed on the first notes of Duke Ellington's "The Feeling of Jazz, which oozes some happy blues with plenty of style as each voice trades lively solos.
The group swings joyfully and with lyricism on the Rodgers and Hart standard "Blue Room, as Brown proudly introduces the theme paving the way for Nicolas' stepping bass solo before everyone joins in on the fun. Whether a little Latin ("Moon & Sand ), some heavy bop (Nica's Tempo ), or a thoughtful duet ballad ("You Don't Know What Love "), all of the music is consistently good. No gimmicks and no fluff, The Feeling of Jazz provides music that sticks to your ribs and, as the old saying goes, "puts some real meat on them 'bones.
The Feeling of Jazz;
Moon & Sand;
You Don't Know What Love Is;
The Lake Louise Waltz (at X-mas);
I'll Be Seeing You.
Joshua Brown: trombone; Randy Napoleon: guitar; Clovis Nicolas: bass; Philip Stewart: drums.