By Frank Alkyer | Published May 2021
Here’s a really beautiful trio recording that represents a pandemic triumph. Trombonist Marshall Gilkes, along with Yasushi Nakamura on bass and Clarence Penn on drums, were scheduled to go into the studio back in April 2020, but COVID had other thoughts. Gilkes initially had another type of album in mind, but “after several months at home, living in limbo, Waiting To Continue proved to be a more suitable title that better conveys the feeling the album represents,” he said in press materials. A few months later, the trio gathered under very strict COVID rules and started to lay down what would become the album. It is breathtaking. The title track begins with Gilkes multi-tracking his trombone before Penn and Yasushi join in. It’s a resilient, hopeful song that captures the times in which it was recorded. Beyond the title track, there is so much to like here. Gilkes has a rare and wonderful mastery of his instrument. It’s on full display throughout the record, from the slippery speed and fluidity of “Archie’s Theme” and “Taconic Turns” to the tear-in-the-eye beauty of “Anya’s Tune.” Gilkes is a force of nature who plays with hope and confidence to spare. It’s music that this reviewer almost missed out on. Indeed, Waiting To Continue, which was released back in February, could have easily suffered that fate. Luckily, I was encouraged to go back and check it out. It’s a gift. This is honest, hopeful, uplifting music for rising above and beyond the challenges of the past year as we all await the green-light to continue our lives and careers once again.