Zerx Records & Press


Review : BONAFIED - Trombone Revenge

BONAFIED - Trombone Revenge
(Zerx 18; USA)

Review by Bruce Lee Gallanter
of Downtown Music Gallery , NYC

Featuring J.A. Deane on tenor trombone & bass flute, Kurt Heyl on tenor trombones & flutes, Steve Feld on trombones, euphonium & sousaphone, Gary Sherman on soprano & tenor trombones & tuba, Mark Weaver on tuba & tenor trombone and Jefferson Vorhees on drums. Kurt Heyl is one of those mysterious improvisers that consistently produces interesting improv discs, yet remains relatively unknown. He leaves us with his discs a few times a year, which I usually review but we rarely sell very many copies. He used to live in New Mexico, which is where this disc was recorded, but has moved here a couple of years back and plays our store from time to time.
Bonefield is a trombone-fronted sextet with a tuba and drummer rhythm team. The only other player that I recognize here is J.A. Deane who used to work with Jon Hassell, Wayne Horvitz, and Butch Morris. Trombone ensembles are pretty rare, although I did hear a great trombone quartet called SlideRide at the Knit many years ago. Bonafied are quite different as they feature some spoken word vocals and chants, which are kept to a minimum. Besides the trombones, some of the members double on flutes, euphonium and tuba, adding a few other odd sounds to the mix. Ever since seeing/hearing Joe Bowie playing elephant-like blasts on his trombone during the late seventies, I've been a fan of myriad of sounds that trombonists produce. I've caught a number of the greats: George Lewis, Roswell Rudd, Paul Rutherford, Connie & Johannes Bauer & Ray Anderson, to name but a few. On "Dave's Lines", the four or five trombone players explore odd sounds together and play strange sounds and harmonies. "Primal Slides" is dedicated to Roswell Rudd and features some strange sliding notes and ghost-like drones. Oddly enough, Bonafied cover Duke Ellington's "Azure", and do a fine job of evoking those old muted wah-wah sounds that Duke's trombone section excelled in. Each piece gives the trombonists a different area to explore, growling, humming, bending notes inside-out, screaming, whispering through the 'bone, Another most interesting disc from the under-recognized Kurt Heyl. Take one home will you, please.

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