THE 25TH INTERNATIONAL TROMBONE FESTIVAL

FELDKIRCH, AUSTRIA

"Jazz in the Heart of Feldkirch" was the theme for one of the Festival's more memorable evenings. A large, enthusiastic crowd at the Montforthaus Hotel listened with awe as a local group, the Uncovered Paradise Jazz Band (Christian Maurer, sax; Andy Bartosch, guitar; Jack Strocher, keyoards; Alfred Vollbauer, drums; and Heiko Kleber, percussion) accompanied an incredible slate of legendary jazz trombonists.

The evening began with Stella by Starlight, performed by Jim Pugh, tenor trombone, and Bill Reichenbach, bass trombone. The two performers were a perfect complement for each other, alternating well-crafted solo lines with duet passages in an intense, polyphonic style. Mark Nightingale was next, with a soulful rendition of In A Sentimental Mood . His playing was tastefully shaped with a wide jazz vocabulary, flawless technical displays, and subtle timbral shadings.

Then came Ed Neumeister. The fire and energy created by his angular, rhythmically-charged rendition of the jazz standard, All The Things You Are made audience members sit forward in their seats. His duet with drummer Vollbauer was truly a special moment. The New York Quartet plus One (Joe Alessi, Jim Pugh, Ed Neumeister, Dave Taylor and Mark Nightingale) followed with a tasteful medley, complete with transcribed and harmonized J.J. solos "a la Super Sax", entitled A Tribute to J.J. (a release from a new Alessi CD, New York Legends). Other higlights of the evening included: the slide wizardry of Nightingale, Pugh and Reichenbach on Dizzy Gillespie's Donna Lee; the Alessi, Whigham, Taylor and Neumeister rendition of Ensemble Blues (orchestral-excerpt quotes were flying everywhere); Jiggs Whigham's well-crafted and deeply moving performance of Body and Soul; Frank Rosolino Award winner Nils Wogram's dexterous display on Coltrane's Mr. PC; and a memorable interpretation of I Remember April by Doug Elliott, Nils Wogram and Ed Neumeister. The night ended with a six-trombone arrangement of Ellington's Take the A Train (dedicated to Ella Fitzgerald). Allesi, Neumeister, Nightingale, Pugh, Reichenbach, and Taylor, sans rhythm section, each demonstrated a total mastery of the trombone, jazz, and its close relative, the blues. Oh what a night!

(Compiled and edited by Nathaniel Bickens)