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Michael Dease: Give It All You Got (Posi-Tone)

A review of the trombonist's eighth album for Posi-Tone

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Michael Dease: Give It All You Got
Cover of Michael Dease’s album, Give It All You Got

This album’s title may as well be Michael Dease’s pithy credo. Whether championing and extending the reach of the trombone, leading a band with strength and humility, serving as a sideman to A-listers like Christian McBride or David Sanborn, or taking on the mantle of mentorship to help shepherd the next generation, he always gives of himself completely. This soulful set, inspired by Dease’s summer teaching work at the Jazz Institute at Brevard Music Center, is just the latest document to display that total commitment.

Leading an organ outfit with a multi-horn frontline and a few additional guests, Dease builds a musical menu that holds easy appeal. “A Sliver of Silver” offers Latin spice plus a catchy head and plenty of blowing room. “The Next Level,” a driven number with a cascading and angular theme, gives drummer Ulysses Owens Jr. a chance to get in on the action through trading eights. And four more originals from the leader’s pen—the churchy “Word to the Wise,” bossa-based “Ritmo de Brevard,” bright shuffle “Zanderfied” and adrenalized blues boogaloo “Transylvania County Funk Parade”—help to fill out the picture of a consummate composer/musician. Organist Jim Alfredson adds two to the mix, a vibrant straight-time setting dubbed “Dave’s Boogie-Down” and the bounding “Lake Toxaway Getaway,” while guest drummer Luther Allison and trumpeter Anthony Stanco each contribute one tune—the stylishly streamlined “Parker’s Fancy” and the mellow-turned-passionate “Climb the Mountain,” respectively.                            

Lest the connection to the Brevard Music Center’s two-week workshop seem tenuous, it should be noted that the personnel for this outing was plucked right from its faculty roster and the material honors individuals, breakthroughs, and high points associated with its nurturing environment. Give It All You Got is as much an endorsement for that program as it is a showcase for Dease’s well-rounded skills.

Learn more about Give It All You Got on Amazon!

Before & After: Michael Dease

Dan Bilawsky

Dan Bilawsky has been involved in jazz journalism for 15 years. His work has appeared in JazzTimes, JAZZed, and All About Jazz, among other outlets. In addition, he’s penned liner notes for artists on Red, Capri, HighNote/Savant, Ropeadope, and other respected imprints. A band director with 20 years of teaching experience, he holds degrees in music from Indiana University, the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College, and Five Towns College.