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Vincent Gardner Quintet: Elbow Room

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The standard jazz-quintet paradigm, as cemented by Art Blakey’s various Jazz Messengers and the classic mid-’60s Miles Davis quintet, has long been an enduring staple of jazz ensemble thinking. By switching trumpet for trombone, Vincent Gardner–best known for his well-deserved chair in the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra–lends a refreshing twist to a format we’ve become all too familiar with (especially since Wynton Marsalis resuscitated it in the early ’80s).

Gardner is an impressive, well-rounded trombonist, fleet and nimble in a boppish uptempo zone and blessed with vocalistlike expressivity when elegance is required. For this occasion, Gardner has assembled a fine group, including LCJO colleague Walter Blanding on tenor sax (and occasional soprano), pianist Aaron Goldberg, bassist Greg Williams and drummer Quincy Davis. They all obviously understand the mission: heeding the time-honored quintet aesthetic, with a balance of conservatism and controlled heat.

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