Plunge is a drummer-less trio, featuring leader/trombonist Mark McGrain teamed with bassist James Singleton. The "no drums" approach allows flexibility in the music's time element, and a fluidity of the flow of notes, while horns and bass make room for space as a major component of the sound.
The slippery tango of the title track to Plunge's third CD, Tin Fish Tango, opens the disc, featuring brief, concise soloing, entwined with jaunty bass lines. McGrain and saxophonist Tim Green slip in and out and around each other, giving the tune a mood of New Orleans, the city where the disc was recorded, and where the involved musicians reside. The Crescent City feeling is more prominent yet on "Huff-A-Round" and "Big Bhang Theory," two tunes featuring Dirty Dozen Brass Band sousaphonist Kirk Joseph.
This set of McGrain originals includes moments of whimsical grit ("The Kroop"), funk-filled interludes ("Huff-A-round"), loose-limbed trio improvisation ("Lost to the Vapors," "No Spill, Spew!" and Pelican Down") and a dangerous-sounding stop-time blues ("The Kroop"). The disc closes out with "Diddlin,'" a prowling cool cat groove, with saxophonist Tom Fitzpatrick swaggering out front, leading into the heavy testosterone of McGrain's beefy 'bone blowing.
Taken as a whole, Plunge's music has a funky, let-the-good-times-roll atmosphere, calling to mind the French Quarter and the street musicians in action there. Killer sounds from down 'Nawlin's way.
Track Listing: Tin Fish Tango; Bright Side; Huff-A-Round; No Spill, Spew!; Stollin' With Sidney; Life Lite; Big Bhang Theory; Pelican Down; The Kroop; Love's Wildest Talent; Jugs; Lost to the Vapors; Diddlin.'
Personnel: Mark McGrain: trombone; James Singleton: bass; Tim Green: saxophone (1, 2, 4, 8, 10-12); Tom Fitzpatrick: saxophone: (3, 5-7, 9, 13); Kirk Joseph: sousaphone (3, 8).
I met Erroll Garner at The Theatrical Grill in Cleveland a few hours before our family was to see him on stage at Severance Hall. That was 45 years ago and I was only 15! I spotted him nearby in a booth wearing a beautiful tux with a great white napkin draped over him! I was a little nervous as I approached him (he was eating shrimp cocktail) and said, Mr
I met Erroll Garner at The Theatrical Grill in Cleveland a few hours before our family was to see him on stage at Severance Hall. That was 45 years ago and I was only 15! I spotted him nearby in a booth wearing a beautiful tux with a great white napkin draped over him! I was a little nervous as I approached him (he was eating shrimp cocktail) and said, Mr. Garner, I love playing the piano... is there any advice you could give me?'' He hesitated, then looked back at me and said, Keep playin' and don't stop!'' That was great advice because at 60 years old, I'm still playin' and haven't stopped!