By Ed Enright | Published November 2018
More than just a celebration of the sliphorn, Bonafide reflects versatile trombonist Michael Dease’s commitment to and love for all things straightahead. His bonafide colleagues here include fellow trombonists Conrad Herwig (on three tracks), Marshall Gilkes (on three tracks) and Gina Benalcazar (on two), as well as an ace rhythm section of pianist David Hazeltine, bassist Todd Coolman and drummer E.J. Strickland, plus guest tenor saxophonist Sam Dillon (on two tracks).
Taking on various configurations, ranging from full-on four-piece ’bone section to a one-horn jazz quartet, the ensemble swings hard through a program that includes five Dease originals and a Hazeltine composition, as well as fresh arrangements of classics by Sonny Rollins (“Tenor Madness”), Phineas Newborn Jr. (“Theme For Basie”), Marcus Belgrave (“Batista’s Groove”), J.J. Johnson (“In Walked Wayne”) and Brazilian composer Johnny Alf (“Nós”). In the process, the trombonists absolutely tear it up, delivering fiery solo improvisations, neatly trading playful improvised phrases, indulging in gorgeously voiced tutti passages and dancing in delicate counterpoint. Hazeltine, Coolman and Strickland play consistently in the pocket and contribute impressive solos of their own, and Dillon enraptures when featured. The brainchild of Posi-Tone’s Marc Free, Bonafide presents Dease as a torchbearer for swing, blues, groove and soul who aspires to authenticity while revitalizing the trombone’s image.