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Album Review

Since he arrived in New York City, trombonist Michael Dease has made his mark on the New York City jazz scene, even though he is still in his twenties. Earning a Bachelors and Master's degree as a part of Juilliard's jazz program, Dease has worked with bandleaders Illinois Jacquet, Slide Hampton, Wycliffe Gordon, and Wynton Marsalis, among others, while he has appeared on recordings by Jacquet, the Charles Tolliver Big Band, Claudio Roditi, and the Dizzy Gillespie All-Star Band, in addition to numerous other sessions as a sideman and several dates as a leader. Jazz masters and critics alike have pegged Dease as one of the most impressive trombonists of his generation and a player of unlimited potential. Grace is remarkable in its diversity of styles. Working with veteran producer John Lee (who invited him to join the Gillespie All-Stars), they focused primarily on songs that had not been overly recorded. With Dease and Lee working together as co-arrangers, they uncover new approaches to each song while recruiting a first-rate rhythm section of Cyrus Chestnut, Rufus Reid, and Gene Jackson, plus a number of special guests. Bix Beiderbecke's "In a Mist" was penned as a solo piano vehicle, but this updated chart begins in a slow Impressionist setting and evolves into a rollicking post-bop vehicle. McCoy Tyner's loping "Blues on the Corner" opens with Dease accompanied by Rufus Reid's walking bass, gradually simmering its delectable recipe with potent solos by tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander, Chestnut, and Reid. Dease and his friends dive head-first into Oscar Peterson's rapid-fire blues "Tippin'," with the leader showing a strong J.J. Johnson influence in his flawless execution, followed by Chestnut's rollicking solo and Roy Hargrove's spirited effort. His interpretation of Herbie Hancock's challenging "Toys" will likely provoke other jazz musicians to investigate this long-overlooked treasure. Dease plays both trombone and valve trombone (adding harmony in spots on the latter) in the richly textured setting of Antonio Carlos Jobim's gently swaying samba "Discussao," also featuring Gillespie bandmate Claudio Roditi on flügelhorn and guitarist Mark Whitfield. Another hidden gem from South America is Ivan Lins' "Setembro," where Dease's elegant, spacious playing gives the impression of a jazz master active for decades. The trombonist's Juilliard classmate Sharel Cassity has separate solos on both alto sax and alto flute, adding to the luster of the arrangement. Dease's breezy "Grace" is the icing on the cake, providing ample proof that this accomplished young trombonist is equally skilled as a composer. Highly recommended!

Customer Reviews

Best Jazz Trombonist I

I heard this guy on WBGO in the car yesterday playing McCoy Tyner's "Blues On The Corner" and his solo made me pull over off the road so I could listen. WOW what a musician! He is a smooth player like a trumpet or saxophone, but it's a great sound for the trombone, warm and pretty like J.J. Johnson and Kai Winding. Just bought his album here, and it's full of the different styles, like bebop, bossa, and my favorite, swing. I listen to the radio all the time, and this guy Michael Dease is special. Check out the tracks Tippin, Blues On The Corner and Toys.

Full of Great Surprises!

My favorite aspect of this record is the fact that there are so many little twists and turns from song to song and within each track. Mr. Dease keeps your ears at full attention with every arrangement and the band seamlessly moves from groove to groove, while always providing all soloists with interactive and tasteful accompaniment. To my ears, Michael is working toward what I believe Freddie Hubbard was working on in his early developmental years; a more saxophonistic approach to brass playing. Dease's articulation is varied and tight and every note contains its own soulful character. This record displays his wide range of improvisational approaches as well. On the opening track, he is playing melodically but never forgets about his technical prowess. On Blues On the Corner, he displays his more modern harmonic muscle and turns up the heat! All in all, every jazz fan will find a favorite track somewhere on this album.

Great Recording

There is an incredible amount of variety on this CD, and Mike sounds great on all of it. He has a lot of chops, but they don't get in the way. It's nice to hear him with a serious band like this- Roy Hargrove, Cyrus Chestnut, Rufus Reid, Eric Alexander, Mark Whitfield... it's pretty ridiculous, but he sounds at home with these guys.


Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '00s

A native of Augusta, GA, Michael Dease first played alto sax as a teenager, soon switched to tenor sax, and won all-state honors for three consecutive years on the latter instrument while in high school. Teaching himself trombone during...
Full Bio
Grace, Michael Dease
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  • $9.99
  • Genres: Jazz, Music
  • Released: Jul 06, 2010

Customer Ratings