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Northern Dancer

Jim Staley

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Album Review

Recorded nearly a decade after the epochal Mumbo Jumbo, and using some of the same musicians, Jim Staley continues to effectively utilize the trio format, although he adds an effective duo piece with John Zorn (again on alto sax) and a deliberative solo statement on trombone. Every one of the nine tracks has its moments, but the emphasis on longer pieces and greater atmosphere mitigates the edge that made the earlier release so compelling. Still, admirers of Staley's gorgeously subversive trombone will not be disappointed, as he continues to impress with knotty runs, fat, globular splats, and riveting, muted jabs. The two tracks with electric harpist Zeena Parkins take awhile to get moving, but the attractive work of Ikue Mori on drum machines and Davey Williams on guitar adds nicely to the mix.

Biography

Born: 1950

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s

Jim Staley occupies a unique position among trombonists, crossing genres freely between post-modern classical music and avant-garde jazz. He boasts spectacular technique, including the ability to spit forth clusters of notes at rapid speed. Usually concentrating in the mid-to-lower registers of the trombone, his big, gruff tone hearkens to an earlier era, though his wondrous abilities and style plant him firmly in the free music world. Raised in Illinois, Staley served in the armed forces as a member...
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Northern Dancer, Jim Staley
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