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Luis Bonilla’s Waves of Jazz Exhilaration

Nat Hentoff raves about young trombonist

I haven’t had a full-time jazz job since the late 1950s, but I spend a lot of time being regenerated by this music’s life force. … Read More "Luis Bonilla’s Waves of Jazz Exhilaration"

I haven’t had a full-time jazz job since the late 1950s, but I spend a lot of time being regenerated by this music’s life force. I’m also frequently surprised because so much is going on-including music I should have paid attention to over the years. Recently, for the first time I heard Luis Bonilla on his Twilight CD (Planet Arts). After a few bars, I had to get up and shout in pleasure at trombonist-composer-leader Bonilla’s ceaseless creation of an infectiously vibrant group identity: one that brought this listener deep into joyfully bursting swing and luminously searching ballads.

How have I missed this guy? Born in Los Angeles to Costa Rican parents in 1965, he’s recorded with Gerry Mulligan, Freddie Hubbard, Paquito D’Rivera and Toshiko Akiyoshi, whose music I knew when she was still living in Japan. But I missed Bonilla, who considered Lester Bowie his mentor, having toured extensively in the trumpeter’s Brass Fantasy.

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