Here’s something you don’t see every day—a two trombone led quintet. Yet, trombonists Alan Goidel and Howard Levy have marshaled a group which includes Hiroshi Yamazaki on piano, Michael Goetz on bass and Chuck Zeuren on drums for Road Trip by the quintet Slide Attack.
Of the nine tracks on the album, five are written by Levy, three by Goidel and one by Yamazaki. The cross from straight-up Jazz to Latin Jazz and even a bit of Fusion. And these artists make it all work extremely well.
The album opens with Spring Roll and features cool solos from pianist Yamazaki and the trombones. Drummer Chuck Zeuren gets a nod and a wink, too, in this Jazz tune of great touch and texture. Then the title track, Road Trip, follows with a swinging number that gets the same artists solos with the addition of bassist Michael Goetz. A fine, fine composition by Goidel.
Clauditti by Levy takes a turn for the Latin and the trombones give full throat to this hot beauty of a song. Levy reveals that the song is dedicated to his wife and he based the composition on Jobim’s So Danco Samba. Yamakazi adds the sweet Latin chording that is in step with the Latin rhythms of Goetz and Zeuren.
Levy’s Struttin’ brings the Funk with intentional rhythms from Zeuren and a bouncing solo from Levy. If you think you’re hearing shades of Herbie Hancock’s Watermelon Man, you’re not wrong. Then comes Goidel’s Look Within, a classic Jazz structure that is reflective and calls for introspection from everyone—a quest to see our own uniqueness and beauty. A lovely piece. Levy then looks to Gershwin’s I Got Rhythm for the basis of Owens, a song describing the energy of his dog. Levy and Goidel bounce back and forth with the energy of that puppy and Yamazaki and Goetz provide the adult voices to calm that Aussiedoodle down. What a fun track!
Levy’s A Walk in the Park is an andante piece that strolls along with Levy and Goidel in beautiful harmony. Slightly more up-tempo but equally laid-back is Goidel’s Early Morning. Again the duet of trombones is intoxicating and Yamazaki turns in a beautiful piano solo.
The album concludes with Bluedemic. You don’t have to be Freud or Jung to figure out this inspiration for this piece. Yet, Levy turns to Aristotle’s view of catharsis. Levy writes: “Jazz musicians don’t play the Blues to wallow in them—they play them to get rid of them!” Well-said and well-played. Slide Attack swings their way out of the album in joyous form. Everyone in the quintet leaves it all on the floor as they close the album in fine fashion.
Road Trip is just that—a trip through Jazz, Funk and Blues and more. Alan Goidel and Howard Levy brings grace and beauty to and through the big horns in compositions that are fun, joyful, and brilliant.
~Travis Rogers, Jr. is The Jazz Owl
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