David Wilborn
Four Southern Jazz Vignettes: for Trombone Sextet
Trombone Sextet Trombone Ensemble 5 tenors, 1 bass

Seckington, Tamworth, United Kingdom
Publisher: Warwick Music Limited
Date of Publication: 2019

Primary Genre: Trombone Ensembles - 6 trombones

From the composer:

“The vignettes are trombone sextet settings of the first four selections of the ‘8 Southern Jazz Duets’ by David F. Wilborn. The sextet scoring offers a fresh, and in some case, an alternative harmonic sound to the jazz duets. Here the composer explores expanded accompanimental textures and new harmonies that were not possible in the original duets.” For more information, please consult my review in ITAJ v35n1 winter 2007.

“Hey Reb, Pass the Biscuits!” is an up-beat 16th-note syncopated energetic tune. Lively unison figures alternate punctuated bass lines. Placed in the middle is a section with direction: “Play like you have the Holy Spirit from a church revival!” Rhythms, dynamics, and ranges are manageable, but articulation (style) will really makes this come to life.

A lovely jazz waltz that evokes an image of a pleasant walk through town is the basis for “My, What a Wonderful Day.” Mostly unison 8th-note rhythms make up this tune. The contrast of this movement is in its treatment of subtle texture, nothing aggressive.

Slow hot nasty blues is the style indication for the next selection. Inspired by the title, “Nawleans Blues,” the 3rd trombonist is featured using plunger and growling. The bass line is exactly what one would expect from the Big Easy. Background figures are stylistically appropriate. Pardon my bias, but this is my favorite of the four.

“Goin’ to the City” is noted with Latin samba and features the first trombone. Thinly scored at times, moments of duet are featured throughout. Even the bass gets a chance at the melody! This ends with big, unison figures.

Ranges are achievable by a good high school ensemble, the first part ascending to c2, the bass descending to AA. Wilborn has penned numerous compositions that have made their way into the standard repertoire. These are fun to play and listen to. All can stand on their own or in combination. This selection is highly recommended.

Reviewer: David Stern
Review Published July 26, 2023