WBGO Radar

Michael Dease: Relentless

Michael Dease Relentless

Jimmy Heath has said, "Michael Dease is one of the New Giants of the Trombone!" Of Dease's abilities, Christian McBride stated, " what he does on the trombone should be considered illegal."

Born in Augusta, Georgia, Michael Dease played trumpet and saxophone before settling on the trombone. He was a self-taught high schooler when he came to New York to study at Juilliard. Since then, he's made 4 recordings as leader and been featured on over 100 sessions as a sideman. Aside from his own small groups, he's been featured with the large ensembles of Jimmy Heath, George Gruntz, Rufus Reid, Christian McBride, Charles Tolliver, Illinois Jacquet and Dizzy Gillespie Alumni All-Star Big Band.

Dease also conduct his own 17 piece big band, which gets its recording debut on the upcoming Posi-Tone release, "Relentless".

Duke Pearson's "Is That So" opens the session, with highlighted work from trumpeter Greg Gisbert, tenor saxophonist Diego Rivera, pianist Miki Hayama and Dease making his trombone do some of that illegal stuff McBride alluded to above. Already you are tuned in.

Dease shows his writing abilitiy for a large group with the latin-tinged "Force", with Todd Bashore's alto sax, pianist Hayama and trumpeter Etienne Charles taking spirited turns, before turning it over to the leader, who's impressive work lifts the band further. The ensemble colors offer a nice call and response feel to the chart.

On the title track, "Relentless", once again the palette of the ensemble swirls around the fine solo work of the leader, Tim Green's alto sax and trumpeter Greg Gisbert.

The beauty of a trombone in the right hands comes to the light on Jimmy Dorsey's "I'm Glad There Is You". The warmth of the leader's work never strays, even through the band's flourishes on this classic. The single lines impressive but never out of place.

Another Michael Dease chart, "The Takeover", let's the band run full tilt, with noted ensemble playing and soloing altoist Bashore, trumpeter Charles and the duel trombones of Tom "Bones" Malone and Jerrick Mathews.

- Gary Walker, WBGO music director

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