Chris Washburne and the SYOTOS Band – Fields of Moons
Recorded by Hal Winer at BiCoastal Music in Ossining, NY
Chris Washburne: trombone, tuba
John Walsh: trumpet, flugelhorn
Ole Mathisen: tenor and soprano saxophone, clarinet
Barry Olsen: piano
Led Traversa: electric bass
Diego Lopez: drums
Christian Rivera: percussion
mda: The first listen to this album, I was a little unsure if I liked it. Now it is definitely growing on me. Everything is pretty much a slow Latin groove and band is certainly accomplished and has a very high musicianship. I enjoy this. The tunes are a great mixture of originals and standards, with the standards being quite different. I do feel, however, that the album is maybe 2-3 tracks too long. a slow Latin groove is great, but it can start to drag on you after a while. It seems Chris Washburne is a very busy person in the NYC area with freelancing in the classical and jazz worlds and teaching ethnomusicology at Columbia University. I enjoy his trombone sound and it really fits in well with the supporting band members. I better turn this over to RBD as I know he is really wanting to geek out on a trombone album…
RBD: As you may know, mda, I rarely ‘geek out’ when it comes to trombone related subjects. I will say though, that Chris is a fine trombonist. It’s clear that the band has a good concept and play together in a complimentary way. The only thing I have to say is that there are intonation issues all over the place. I’m not suggesting auto-tuning anything, but bad intonation just hurts the groove and the band can not gel as well as it should. I think the arrangements are very well done and the tune writing is very nice!
mda: I like the fact Chris chose to go with the digipak over the traditional jewel case. The artwork is nice but what’s up with NO LINER NOTES? I feel in this day and age of declining cd sales, the artist must add liner notes to make the jazz fan want to buy the CD over just downloading the album on the internet. It would be interesting to hear Chris’ point of view with the chosen pieces. Why did he chose almost all slow pieces? What is the history of the band and where did the name come from? I think it is really important to connect with the listener on as many levels as you can.
RBD: I couldn’t agree more mda. You almost have to assume that people want to know more about you, your band and your product. When I first saw the album cover, the artwork (which I really like) led me to believe that the album would be full of original tunes and avant-guard playing. The playing is good, not just what the album artwork made me think. Also, I have to say even though the picture of the band is shot probably at the recording session, it doesn’t look professional, well thought out or serious. I understand wanting to have fun and be loose, but sometimes one can be too casual.
(A description of our rating system.)
mda: *** (Nice Latin groove, good musicians, and enjoyable music. However, I think it is something more enjoyed in the background with a small party or maybe your loved-one. There are better albums out there in this genre, that’s about it)
RBD: *** (There is a lot of nice playing on here and very good arrangements, but I think this album would have a tough time holding my attention for an entire third or fourth listening. Too much of a good thing can work against you, and does in this case.)