By Alexa Peters | Published January 2021
Waiting To Continue, the latest release from trombonist and composer Marshall Gilkes and his trio, almost didn’t happen. In fact, much of it had to be rethought when the pandemic hit, thwarting their original plans to record in April.
Being delayed by a few months might have been a happy accident, though. These extenuating circumstances give Waiting To Continue urgency and excitement in an era of excruciating pause. From track one, Gilkes, bassist Yasushi Nakamura and drummer Clarence Penn effuse joy and determination. The title track opens with a somber multipart trombone chorale, which Gilkes recorded at home during the pandemic and brought into the studio. Then, like a feather on the wind, his improvisation is buoyed by textural brushes and bass. Meanwhile, “New Normal,” the other pandemic-era song the bandleader wrote, captures a foreboding and hypervigilant time, as the group aggressively interacts atop the beat. Penned when Gilke’s wife was pregnant with their youngest son, “Archie’s Theme” is a quick, rangy melody that pours out of Gilkes’ trombone. In the end, the name “Waiting To Continue” sidesteps the stubborn resilience of this trio, and of Gilke’s playing—which soars exuberantly and without hesitation in the face of uncertain times.
Waiting To Continue: Waiting To Continue; Archie’s Theme; Longing For Home; Taconic Turns; Ha Mam; The Nod; Anya’s Tune; Play Date; Cora’s Tune; The Usual; New Normal. (60:04)
Personnel: Marshall Gilkes, trombone; Yasushi Nakamura, bass; Clarence Penn, drums.