Don Immel - Long Way Home


Is the trombone a neglected instrument which has fallen out of fashion as a melodic lead instrument? I don't share this opinion. Contemporary jazz was always a musical field for trombonists like Nelson Foltz, Lincoln Ross, Brian Culbertson, Neil Sidwell, Marty Wehner, Jeff Bradshaw and a lot more. In most cases the trombone is integral part of a horn section, but from time to time the trombone is central instrument of the melody structure.

A good example is Don Immel's debut album Long Way Home (2007). Don Immel says he is passionate about re-introducing the trombone into the music scene spotlight. "Even though so few trombone-oriented recordings are made these days, I finally realized I shouldn't let that stop me. If you have lemons, you make lemonade. If you play trombone, you should make a trombone album, which is why I gave a tongue-in-cheek title to one of my tunes, 'Lemonade Alchemy."

We should trust his words. From 1999 until 2006, Don served as Associate Professor of Trombone and Jazz Studies at the University of Washington, in Seattle, achieving tenure in 2003. So there is some seriousness in his statement. Don assembled for his album musicians from the Seattle jazz scene like Marc Seales (piano), Gary Hobbs (drums), Dave Captein (bass), Chris Spencer (guitar), and Ben Thomas (percussion, vibraphone).

I will not try to pigeonhole his music to genres like smooth jazz, general jazz, chill, new age or lounge music, there is something from all but foremost it's Don's musical personality.  "With my music I want to bring the warm, earthy sound of the trombone back to the attention of today's audience, " explains Don. “I also am excited about combining the technical aspects of classical music with the freedom of jazz along with the energy and excitement of contemporary pop forms. I don’t feel restricted by my instrument. I truly believe the sound of a trombone can fit into and enhance virtually any style of music. I hope to open people’s ears to the possibilities.”

The intelligent intro of Long Way Home flatters brain and heart of the audience. Foremost it's the smooth sound of Don's trombone. Breathtaking Mark Seales' piano runs. Don's solo interpretation opens the field to a brilliant chorus. Fool's Full Quiver is featuring singer Jake Bergevin, a talented Seattle vocalist, trumpet player and band leader. His albums My Name Is Jake and Holding Back The Dawn are on sale at CDBaby. Don showcases his terrific talent with different enclosures.

On the relaxed See The Memo one can listen to the sophisticated performance of Marc Seales and Andrew Nelson on keyboards and synths. By the way congratulation to these top notch sidemen, never change this team! Don approaches the famous Whole Lotta (Love) on a flabbergasting new way. The song is presenting songstress Chandry Moore, a huge talent with significant vocals.

Still In Love gives you time for recreation and contemplation. A collage of picturesque colors and moods in a new age style. The funky Lemonade Alchemy presents Don's group in a concerted interaction. The melodious Leaving Paradise reveals more of Don's sensibility and talent for epic arrangements.

Tibetan flair seems to be in the air on Dualife. On the constant flow Don unfolds his creative musical idea. After this song Don starts his Charm Offensive. A tune with mystic reverb effects. The final tune Last Dance was written by Ben Thomas, who plays on this tune the bandaneon. He just finished his Doctor of Musical Arts at the University of Washington.

Don Immels open for us a new world, the world of trombone showcasing many musical aspects of this fascinating instrument.




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  • Title: Long Way Home
    Artist: Don Immel
    Year: 2007
    Length: 0:45:55
    Genre: Contemporary Jazz
    Label: Elemental Music

    01 Long Way Home [3:59]
    02 Fool's Full Quiver [4:31]
    03 See The Memo [5:07]
    04 Whole Lotta [5:23]
    05 Still In Love [4:48]
    06 Lemonade Alchemy [4:46]
    07 Leaving Paradise [4:22]
    08 Dualife [6:09]
    09 Charm Offensive [3:47]
    10 Last Dance [3:03]