[Dixielandjazz] Slide Hampton in Concert Honors Jobim

Steve barbone barbonestreet at earthlink.net
Tue Jun 6 07:06:00 PDT 2006

Perhaps not OKOM but great music none the less. Plus, Mr. Hampton confirms
Kash's assertion that the trombone is a hard instrument to play. ;-) VBG

In any event, Jobim's music sounds wonderful to lots of folks even though
some still insist that it cannot be jazz, even when played by the likes of
Slide Hampton or Stan Getz.

Steve Barbone

Music Review | Slide Hampton - Honoring a Master of Bossa Nova

NY TIMES - By NATE CHINEN - June 6, 2006

"I used to think playing the trombone was hard," Slide Hampton said onstage
on Sunday night at the TriBeCa Performing Arts Center. "Try putting on a
concert." It was a joke, but Mr. Hampton wasn't laughing; by his own
account, the myriad tasks leading up to that moment had amounted to a
Herculean labor. 

A labor of love, of course: "Slide Plays Jobim" was, at heart, an expression
of one musician's admiration for another. Mr. Hampton recalled being a young
man when he fell under the spell of the Brazilian composer Antonio Carlos
Jobim, to the brief exclusion of everything else. He offered no reasons that
Sunday's concert and an album of the same title were his first sustained
tributes to Mr. Jobim.

The first half of the concert featured combo arrangements from the album,
which, though it was recorded several years ago, he has just released
independently. (It is available at www.slidehampton.com.) Mr. Hampton's
ensemble, carried by the Brazilian rhythm team of Helio Alves on piano,
Guilherme Monteiro on guitar and Duduka Da Fonseca on drums, maintained an
appropriately buoyant lilt. (The bassist John Lee, a New Englander, produced
the album.) 

Mr. Hampton's trombone is ideally suited to the gentle stirrings of bossa
nova. He has a full and slightly foggy sound, warm and mellow even in the
upper reaches of his range. And he manages to maintain an unerring
articulation with no trace of percussive attack. This held true even as he
fired off a rapid stream of eighth notes on "One Note Samba."

That song, like much of the first half, was also a showcase for Maucha
Adnet, a vocalist who worked with Mr. Jobim in his later years. Ms. Adnet
brought a bright effervescence to "Agua de Beber," and struck the proper
balance of callousness and remorse on "How Insensitive." The trumpeter Roy
Hargrove was a charismatic guest soloist on both songs, even if his boppish
approach sounded slightly out of place.

The concert's second half, which arrived after a leisurely intermission,
featured the Slide Hampton Big Band. This was ostensibly good news: Mr.
Hampton has done some of his best work with big bands, historically and
recently. He earned a Grammy for best instrumental arrangement last year,
just one month after receiving a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz
Masters Award. 

Oddly, though, only one of the five arrangements on the program was by Mr.
Hampton: "Amazon River," which featured a round robin of trumpet soloists,
including Mr. Hargrove. The other arrangements were by Mr. Hampton's
contemporary Frank Foster, and by several younger members of the band.

The most striking was a version of "Wave" by the alto saxophonist Todd
Bashore. It began with a rush of ocean sounds from the horns, before the
rhythm section joined in. Then came a conjugation of Mr. Jobim's melody:
first with a lone flute and an upright bass, in octaves; then the trumpet
section, in muted unison; then the saxophones, harmonized.

With ballooning brass lines and flashy double-time passages, Mr. Bashore's
arrangement strayed far from the humble simplicity of its source material.
But it was an effective barnburner for the band. And to some extent, that
was Mr. Hampton's focus for the night: not just Mr. Jobim, but what he still

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