This past month's ITA Journal included an article titled "What's on your iPod?" The article featured the must-have playlists of several high-profile trombonists, and I think I'm going to be referring back to it frequently as I expand my music library over the next several months.

In the spirit of that article, though I am a much, much lower-profile trombonist than anyone featured in it, I thought I'd share a few of the albums I've been listening to lately. Here goes:

  • Two Too
    Jiggs Whigham and Wolfgang Kohler. Two-Too.
  • Out of the New
    Steve Wiest. Out of the New.
  • Trombone Heaven
    Frank Rosolino and Carl Fontana. Trombone Heaven, Vancouver, 1978.
  • Jam Session Vol. 23
    Conrad Herwig, Vincent Gardner & Wycliffe Gordon. Jam Session Vol. 23.
  • The Art of the Trio Vol. 5: Progression
    Brad Mehldau Trio. The Art Of The Trio Vol. 5: Progression
  • Back East
    Joshua Redman. Back East.
  • The Definitive Thad Jones
    The Definitive Thad Jones, Live from the Village Vanguard Vol. 1.
  • 09Cover.jpg

Of these, I'd like to call special attention to two: Jiggs Whigham and Wolfgang Kohler's Two-Too and Joshua Redman's Back East.

The former (Two-Too) is an excellent example of what I love about the trombone: it sings. Whigham has been one of my favorite trombonists for a long time (I even play his signature trombone), in no small part because his melodies are all so convincing. Oftentimes improvisers (myself included) sound like they're just stringing together a battery of go-to licks; Whigham, however, always seems to be relaxedly composing beautiful new ideas. He really highlights the vocal qualities of the trombone, and this album's duet format helps that shine through even more than usual.

Redman's album (Back East) shares a lot of the same qualities, though it's quite a bit more adventurous on the arranging side of things. The artist has taken great pains to refresh several old standards with playful new rhythms (including a lilting 7/8 rendition of East of the Sun), but never loses track of the heart and soul of the original when doing so. His sense of time and groove are impeccable (see especially The Surrey With the Fringe on Top), and his improvisations unique and engaging.

So that's what I'm listening to these days. It's kind of nice to be hearing new music again; ironically, I'm doing a lot more listening now that I'm not a full-time music student …I have (a bit) more money to spend on it, and a lot more time to listen (since I'm in front of a computer all day). No complaints here, though—I love music, and if I get to hear more of it, that's a wonderful thing.

Hope you enjoy these albums as much as I do.