Michael Dease – Give It All You Got – Posi-Tone Records PR8217 – 57:37 – ****1/2
(Michael Dease – trombone; Anthony Stanco – trumpet, flugelhorn; Gregory Tardy – tenor sax; Jim Alfredson – Hammond organ; Ulysses Owens, Jr. – drums; Gwendolyn Dease – congas, triangle; Brooklyn Dease – percussion (#6); Luther Allison – drums (#3, 9); Sharel Cassity – alto sax (#5); Randy Napoleon – guitar (#8) )
Ace trombonist, Michael Dease, takes us on a visit to hard bop heaven on his new Posi-Tone release, Give It All You Got. It’s his eighth CD for the label. He is backed by largely a younger group of musicians, many of whom he has mentored as a collegiate professor. Dease studied at Julliard, getting both his bachelors and masters degree there. His name is fully cemented as a top grade trombonist, and he won the Rising Star award from Downbeat Magazine some time ago. He can always be counted upon both as a leader, and first chair sideman. He fully rises to the occasion here on his new release, with not a weak track among the ten songs presented. Six are original tunes, and the other four are from his band members.
Describing the joys of hearing hard bop jazz well played is difficult to do, but you know it when you hear it. It’s a contagious warmth that both invigorates and soothes the daily stresses we face, especially in turbulent times that we now must endure. Burnished brass, swinging sax, seamless ensemble playing, with contributions from organ, assertive drumming, and funky solo choruses, all contribute to the full effect. And it’s all here…
Horace Silver brought the best of hard bop and soul jazz for many decades, and Michael honors his memory on “A Slice of Silver.” Junior Cook and Blue Mitchell played sax and trumpet in one of the best Silver aggregations, and on this tune, tenor saxist, Gregory Tardy, and trumpeter, Anthony Stanco, take over, more than ably, the roles that Cook and Mitchell made special for Horace. Michael’s wife, Gwendolyn, also a college music professor, is on congas here, and helps spice up the mix.
Nearly everyone in the group gets feature time on “The Next Level.” On “Parker’s Fancy” Jim Alfredson from Organissimo, shows his organ skills. It’s totally in the pocket, as is the great ensemble playing of the horns. Michael’s burnished trombone tone brings to mind the trombone master, J.J. Johnson.
Sweet as honey is an apt description for “Word to the Wise,” a feel-good ballad that follows. “Climb the Mountain” has a moody organ opening before the horns kick in. The sumptuous trombone solo by Dease is like a post pandemic hug from a close friend. Anthony Stanco’s trumpet solo is memorable. The closer, “Transylvania County Funk Parade” has a catchy vamp. It sounds like a classic backing track for James Brown, with Gregory Tardy channeling Maceo Parker, while Dease matches Fred Wesley, in intensity. It will get your feet in motion.
This is a superb effort from Michael Dease and company. Both trombone aficionados and hard bop lovers will love this CD. Highly recommended…!
A Slice of Silver
The Next Level
Word to the Wise
Dave’s Boogie Down
Ritmo De Brevard
Lake Toxaway Getaway
Climb the Mountain
Transylvania County Funk Parade