By Brian Morton | Published March 2021
There’s a tendency to cling to an old prejudice: Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach. It’s meretricious nonsense, and Michael Dease is proof. He’s the teacher you always wish you had, and it comes just as much in his playing as in his obviously successful teaching at Brevard Music Center Jazz Institute. There’s a generosity, a clarity of vision and nothing remotely “pedagogic.”
It’s still somewhat unusual to come across a trombone-led record, which is the first point of attraction here. But the vividness of writing on “A Sliver Of Silver” (dedicated both to Horace and to Randy Brecker) is the perfect intro. “The Next Level” is about rising up through changes, not in a schematic way, but as a personal evolution. Organist Jim Alfredson wrote “Dave’s Boogie-Down,” a nod to David Sanborn, with whom Dease was touring when the bug bit. Best for (almost) last is trumpeter Anthony Stanco’s “Climb The Mountain,” which easily could be adopted as anthem for the still-difficult times ahead: a genuinely uplifting theme. Dease rounds things off with “Transylvania County Funk Parade,” which has just a touch of Jack Walrath about it.
Give It All You Got: A Sliver Of Silver; The Next Level; Parker’s Fancy; Word To The Wise; Dave’s Boogie-Down; Ritmo De Brevard; Lake Toxaway Getaway; Zanderfied; Climb The Mountain; Transylvania County Funk Parade. (58:04)
Personnel: Michael Dease, trombone; Gregory Tardy, tenor saxophone; Sharel Cassity (5), alto saxophone; Anthony Stanco, trumpet; Jim Alfredson, organ; Randy Napoleon (8), guitar; Gwendolyn Dease, Brooklyn Dease, percussion; Ulysses Owens Jr, Luther Allison, drums.