Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Robin Jessome Quintet: "For Whatever Reason"

The contemporary jazz world is filled with a wide range of musicians, styles, and instruments. However, these days, it seems like the trombone has become some what forgotten. As well, with the exception of a few trombonists, such as Glenn Miller and Tom Dorsey, most of its players have been (rather wrongfully) viewed as the sidemen of jazz. Even though these musicians are unwarrantedly depicted this way, as mentioned, there are those great players who nevertheless, make their mark on jazz as leaders. One of these great trombonists is doing so, as we speak, here in our own Canadian jazz scene. Originally from Nova Scotia, where he received his Bachelors of Music (BMUS) from St. Francis Xavier University, Robin Jessome relocated to Toronto to achieve his Masters of Music (MMUS) from the University of Toronto. Since the relocation, Jessome has been bringing the trombone back, as he leads both his own quintet and Blunt Object, a large music ensemble made up of mostly his fellow U of T alumni. However, the focus of this post will be on his quintet, which recently released their debut album, "For Whatever Reason". The group includes Jessome on the trombone, Gordon Hyland on the tenor sax, Tom Van Seters on the piano, Mark Godfrey on the bass, and Mark Segger on the drums. The first song that we're going to note is "Powderkeg". This piece is characterized by the improvisational partnership between Jessome and Hyland. At first, they go bar for bar, playing "catch" with a musical ball. However, this culminates into an intense climax, where both of them are soloing on top of each other, adding to the delight of the listener. The next song that we're going to discuss is "A True Story". This blues is introduced by Van Seters who improvises over two heads. Following this, Jessome and Hyland come in with a uniquely composed melody line. Jessome is the first to solo, followed by Godfrey, Hyland, and Segger. Each musician wonderfully adds their own originality to the blues through their respective improvisations. In addition, "For Whatever Reason" is a wonderful debut album. Though, its leader may find himself being praised for much more than his superb compositions. Rather, we believe that through his contributions to the jazz world, he will be praised as a super hero, who helped to bring the trombone into the spotlight, where it will rightfully remain. Take a listen to the album bellow!

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