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Matt Niess and the Capitol Bones: Epistrophy

Unless we’re talking about the tailgate or barrelhouse sounds of traditional jazz, the words that usually come to mind regarding the sound of the trombone are suave and sensuous. In the right chops, it can also be incredibly swinging.

All those adjectives apply to The Capitol Bones: five trombones and rhythm from the Washington, D.C., area. On Epistrophy, the band’s second CD, a total of eight trombonists are heard, but the book has been created for three tenor and two bass trombones. Solo highlights abound, but the section is the most memorable instrument: the driving, angular title tune by Thelonious Monk; the bass humor and straightahead swing of “I Thought About You”; the infinite colors and counterpoint of “Speak Low”; the salsa-and-rock flavored treatment of “Maiden Voyage”; the sly plunger wit and tight voicings of “Stolen Moments”; a positively prayerful “A Child Is Born”; and the unabashed homage to Kenton in “Here’s that Rainy Day.” It’s an outstanding concerted effort.

Originally Published