Sunday, May 13, 2012

Marshall Gilkes - Sound Stories

Trombonist Marshall Gilkes gives orchestral shape to small group jazz.
You don't have to understand all the complicated stuff to feel the story that it tells ( Adam Birnbaum)
Hans Koert

Recently trombonist Marshall Gilkes surprised with his latest album Sound Stories. His quintet features Donny Mccalsin on tenor saxophone, Adam Birnbaum at the piano, Yasushi Nakamura on bass and Eric Doob on drums. The music as played by Marshall Gilkes, who happens to be a slide trombone player, and his men, all world class musicians, surprised me. What a great album!
Marshall Gilkes - Sound Stories ( ASR 005) (photo courtesy: Lieve Boussauw)
The title Sound Stories suggests well arranged lengthy compositions and that's true ..... I like an orchestral shape in my music - with ups and down - as opposed to a flat line where everything moves with the same intensity, Gilkes says. The eleven lengthy tracks ( 75 % of the tracks have a more then 6 minutes playing time) are all Marshall Gilkes compositions and even three compositions, Presence, Anxiety and Armstrong ( named after his late grandfather, not good old Satchmo) have two separate sections ..... Like Bob Brookmeyer, the legendary trombone player and composer / arranger, who recently passed away, Gilkes seems to follow in Bob's footsteps ...... to become a creative and melodic composer.
Marshall Gilkes (photo courtesy Lieve Boussauw)
The opening tune Presence is one of my favourites, but also Slashes which has a surprising opening by Gilkes and his men  But Marshall Gilkes seems to be at his best in the more slow tempi ballads like First Song,  which fascinated me. Enjoy a film fragment of Slashes in which Marshall Gilkes, together with drummer Eric Doob and Tom Di Carlo learn what great musicians they are.

To be honest, I'd never heard Marshall Gilkes playing in a small setting, until I heard this album. Followers of the Keep (it) Swinging blog might have learned that I have a weakness for the (slide)trombone and its sound - I love to listen to musicians like J. J. Johnson, Frank Rosolino, Kai Winding, Bob Brookmeyer, Curtis Fuller and Steve Turre
Marshall Gilkes ( photo courtesy: Francesco Martinelli)
Marshall Gilkes was born in September 1978 in Camp Spring, Maryland in a musical family; graduated at Juilliard School and started a career as a trombone player in New York City, where he was part of the orchestras of Maria Schneider, Gary Wofsey, Michael Dease and John Fedchock. Now he lives in Cologne (Germany) and is a member of the WDR Big Band.

Marshall Gilkes - Sound Stories is one of those albums that sounds better each time you play it, like a good bottle of wine ..... thanks to all members of Gilkes Quintet - it will appeal to a large group of jazz fans.
Marshall Gilkes ( photo courtesy: Francesco Martinelli )
The album Sound Stories by Marshall Gilkes Quintet was released by Alternate Side Records and can be ordered at CDBaby and Amazon.
Hans Koert
Twitter: #slikopdeweg Facebook group Keep (it) Swinging

The trombone is one of those instruments that fascinate me. I was very lucky to hear Bob Brookmeyer, the legendary valve trombonist who recently passed away,in a concert with his Bob Brookmeyer New Art Orchestra at the North Sea Jazz Festival in Rotterdam two years ago. As the leader of the band he took his instrument and played 16 bars, before he dropped his instrument ....... and started conducting his orchestra for the rest of the set. These 16 bars ..... ! Marshall Gilkes, slide trombone player at the WDR Big Band has a lot in common with Bob. Not only that he plays (almost) the same instrument, he is also a great composer and arrranger. In his latest album Sound Stories, which he made with his US Quintet, he proofs what a great composer and arranger he is. A great album that surprised me. The Keep (it) Swinging blog has for its friends a montly newsletter. If you love to be one of hem, ask for the Keep (it) Swinging newsletter:
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