Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Michael Dease - Clarity (Blues Back, 2007)

Dease is a young trombonist, composer and educator with a clear, thoughtful sound a conception of music placing him firmly in the post-bop modern mainstream. He is of fine voice and controls the instrument well on this program of mostly original compositions. Joining him on this album are Brandon Lee on trumpet, Sharel Cassidy on alto saxophone, Kris Bowers on piano, Mathew Hereda on bass and a trio of drummers alternating on each track. Citing Curtis Fuller as an inspiration and having played in the big band of Illinois Jacquet, Dease keeps the music on the swing side throughout the program. The composition "Relentless" sounding a little bit like the standard "Blue Skies" leads off the disc with trombone backed by the other horns and soloing at length. There's some fine riffing and boppish saxophone soloing from Victor Goines sitting in with the group on "One 4 Steve." The band slows things down to ballad tempos on "Lullaby for Rita" and another guest, pianist Eric Reed, contributes a nice solo backed by bass and drums. "Elusive" also brings the pace down, and Dease uses his thoughtful tone and clean articulation to produce a well paced solo. This is a solid album of well played mainstream hard bop, and I was particularly impressed by the pianist Bowers and his crisp style. Trombone aficionados and fans of the modern mainstream will take considerable enjoyment in this disc.

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