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Frank Rosolino/Carl Fontana: Trombone Heaven, Vancouver, 1978

Considering how many standout moments punctuate this meeting of trombone icons, three in particular sum up most eloquently everything you’d want to know about Rosolino and Fontana. They all involve engaging in intimate, swinging, contrapuntal conversations without any “comments” from the rhythm players. These moments occur on “Just Friends,” Miles’ “All Blues,” and the neglected Dizzy Gillespie tune “Ow.” Each one follows an accumulation of ensemble and solo activity before heading for the out chorus. The trombonists apparently felt the need to explore the harmonic and rhythmic possibilities of certain up tunes without the restrictions that even the most sensitive rhythm sections can impose. So they luxuriated in the total freedom, as witness the number of tracks (six), and the total time (nearly 80 minutes).

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