Monday, January 11, 2010

Samuel Blaser, His Trombone, His Quartet

Samuel Blaser is not somebody I am very familiar with. He plays an impeccably solid balladic trombone, at least on his Pieces of Old Sky CD (Clean Feed). He is well served by his quartet, which includes Todd Neufeld on electric guitar, Thomas Morgan on contrabass and Tyshan Sorey on drums. We took a look at the latter's Koan in the August 19, 2009 posting of my Gapplegate Music Blog at That CD has Sorey, Neufeld and Morgan minus Blaser.

Like Koan, Pieces of Sky has meditative moments and a kind of sprawling free balladic style that owes something to Charlie Haden and Paul Motian's earlier work, though not in any direct sense. Blaser's trombone builds expressive musical sequences that are a pleasure to hear and the trio gives a subtle, nuanced accompaniment.

It's not all balladic though. "Red Hook," for example gets a head of steam going and Todd Neufeld sounds terrific combining unusual chording and impassioned single lines.

This is a record that deserves your attentive ear. Blaser genuinely contends as a trombonist deserving recognition and the trio has something good to say musically. Recommended.

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