Ray Anderson


Gramavision, 1991

Another very strong album from the most interesting jazz trombonist around today. "Wishbone" shows off Anderson's quirky writing, and his fondness for puns, as well as his instrumental skills; it opens with "The Gahtooze", which has an angular stop/start theme reminiscent of Thelonious Monk's "Evidence", and continues with the Caribbean flavored "Ah Soca". Anderson stays in the upper range of the 'bone on the Charles Mingus composition, "Duke Ellington's Sound Of Love", producing a lyrical, trumpet-like tone. "Comes Love" is the token vocal, showcasing Ray's bizarre, raspy singing style. He even dusts off the old Irving Berlin chestnut "Cheek to Cheek".

This album comes closer to the sound of recent live performances of Anderson and his band, by virtue of the fact that his current touring band (Fumio Itabashi on piano, Mark Helias on bass, and Dion Parsons on drums) plays on it, augmented on several selections by Don Alias on percussion and Mark Feldman on violin. Feldman's violin is especially welcome on the tango "Cape Horn". The album closes with the three-part "Wishbone Suite", featuring both Alias and Feldman; at 19 minutes I find it a bit diffuse, but with some great moments. It's only a slightly disappointing ending to a great set. Anderson produces a broader range of sounds and styles from his trombone than anyone else I've ever heard.

Review Index