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Mike Suter and Slidewerke: The Geezer Strikes!

Jack Bowers By

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Mike Suter and Slidewerke: The Geezer Strikes! The "geezer herein is bass trombonist Mike Suter, who had been thinking about recording this album for years and decided to turn thought into action when he glanced in the mirror one recent morning and "some old dude was lookin' back at me. Ready or not, Slidewerke's time had arrived.

Though Suter didn't exactly strike while the iron was hot, this sharp and swinging session was well worth the wait. Slidewerke is a tentet, one-half of which is comprised of trombones (four tenors, Suter's bass), the other half rhythm (including guitar and percussion). When one of those 'bones is in the capable hands of Scott Whitfield, one can be sure there's some serious ad-libbing going down. Section mates Dave Ryan, Linda Small and Paul Young are no laggards in that area either, nor is guitarist Ron Hershewe who solos radiantly and often.

Suter wrote five of the album's eight selections, three of which—"Codgerosity, "Mid-Life Crisis, "Forrest Grump —allude to his stage in life and plainspoken manner of expression. The others, "Phui! and "Sambagua, are perky sambas. Rich Woolworth, who wrote "Five and Dime (he's one of the Woolworths), arranged "Codgerosity and "Sambagua, while John Katalenic did the same for "Forrest Grump. Suter arranged the rest including Lerner and Loewe's "I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face and Bob Florence's spirited "Bebop Charlie, which closes the session. Speaking of "Charlie, Suter writes, "you never—never ever—end an album of your music with someone else's piece. Not unless the music in question is by Bob Florence . . . As usual, Suter is right on the mark, and "Charlie swings boldly from first measure to last.

Even though the trombones have the first word and the last, the rhythm section is hard-working and indispensable, as drummer Jamey Tate and percussionist Jim Coffin lay down a steady beat while pianist Joe Bagg and bassist Chris Connor paper over the gaps. Meanwhile, the front-liners are in blue-chip form, with delightful showcases for Young ("Mid-Life Crisis ), Small ("Sambagua ) and Whitfield ("Her Face ).

For 'bone lovers, a lavish feast for the ears. For everyone else, more than forty-five minutes of inspired straight-ahead jazz by ten accomplished musicians.

Track Listing: Phui!; Codgerosity; Five and Dime; Mid-Life Crisis; Sambagua; Forrest Grump; I

Personnel: Mike Suter: leader, composer, arranger, bass trombone; Dave Ryan: trombone; Scott Whitfield: trombone; Linda Small: trombone; Paul Young: trombone; Joe Bagg: piano, synthesizer; Ron Hershewe: guitar; Chris Connor: bass; Jamey Tate: drums; Jim Coffin: percussion.

Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: American Creative Music | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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