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Tom “Bones” Malone: Soulbones

For a retro-soul good time with a twist, listeners would be well-advised to consult Tom “Bones” Malone’s

Soulbones (Orchard Pig Music Company OPP 2251; 53:49). Trombonist Malone, known for his work with David Letterman’s CBS Orchestra, offers a savvy choice of familiar selections, in arrangements faithful to the originals, but fueled by the unique character of the trombone.

Malone’s all-pro backing band, featuring the Muscle Shoals Horns, deliver favorites like “A Soulful Strut,” “Rescue Me,” and “Mr. Big Stuff” with sass and energy ± but it’s Malone’s leads that give them emotional kick. The trombone provides salty twists throughout like a wail-and-growl lead over the shuffle “Down Home Blues,” and impossibly notey spotlight runs on “Hard to Handle.” Malone also turns the ’80s pop anthem “I Can Dream About You” into an old-soul styled classic with his magical slide. The ubiquitous Paul Shaffer even joins the fun with a rolling piano rag on “Mother in Law,” another honking, bustling romp on this Commitments-like fun collection.

Originally Published