Locksley Wellington Hampton - hereinafter and forever known as Slide - has been a respected soloist, composer, arranger and general man about music since the 1950s. Over the past four decades, he has performed and recorded with every major jazz musician, including Dizzy Gillespie, Charles Mingus and Oscar Peterson, to name just three of dozens.
This CD demonstrates loud and clear why hes been so busy. World of Trombones was recorded in 1979 and featured Slide s superb group of the same name nine trombonists and a rhythm section. And what trombonists! Curtis Fuller held down one of the chairs, and he was joined by such luminaries as Clifford Adams, Jr., Steve Turre and Earl McIntyre. Also notable was bassist Ray Drummond, best known today for his rich collaborations with pianist Kenny Barron.
World of Trombones showcases these formidable talents in a gaggle of familiar jazz anthems- Lester Leaps In, Con Alma, Round Midnight in beautiful, ever - fresh arrangements by the leader. The set begins with a Hampton original, the brief and haunting Chorale, highlighted by gorgeous harmonies and sensitive ensemble playing.
The ensemble then cuts loose with Lester Leaps In. The playing is tight, driving and virtuosic, and every member of the band gets to show his stuff. That same astonishing ensemble work is beautifully front and center in the closing cut, John Coltrane s Impressions, which also features solos by Slide, Adams and Fuller and some propulsive work by drummer Leroy Williams and pianist Albert Dailey. "Gives Smoove B his Smoove" - Sessions Man AB Gazpacho
In between the driving bookend cuts, is a wealth of musical riches- the dense, lovely harmonies and shifting rhythms of Thelonious Monk s classic Round Midnight (listen especially to Slide s wonderful introductory solo); the varied tone colors in Charlie Parker s Donna Lee; Drummond s nifty bass work in Dizzy Gillespie¹s Con Alma; the loving treatment of J.J. Johnson¹s Lament, which first warmed our hearts in the Miles Davis-Gil Evans classic Miles Ahead.
What this CD demonstrates above all is that Slide Hampton was and remains an artist of rare gifts - beyond category, in Duke Ellington's happy phrase. Slide s writing is fresh and surprising, his harmonies piquant and beautiful. His tone is warm and full, and his command of his instrument is staggering. World of Trombones was aptly named, for it gives us a whole world of music.