Jason Jackson

You might need a trip to Specsavers, no matter how good your eyesight is, to read the huge list of player credits in tiny print on the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra trombonist Jason Jackson’s new album. But you might be surprised if you do. Given that among the dozens and dozens of players lining up for these big band-with-strings sessions star names including Roy Hargrove and Gary Smulyan and the odd bona fide great (Slide Hampton) thrown in for good measure are nestling in some abundance. Inspiration is the sort of album that tends to turn up in the Grammy nominations for best large jazz ensemble. A model modern-mainstream, very New York, big band album where above all the dynamics are just right and size never overpowers it swings in all the right places, too. Jackson influenced by Tommy Dorsey and Urbie Green has a tone and touch that makes you feel you’re in safe hands when he takes the lead and the band know how to sit back or project where necessary. Released in the US on 14 October the trombonist’s strong track record includes long stints with Ray Charles and as a pit band player on Broadway, but his name is an unfamiliar one as a leader. A labour of love, more than half the tunes were written and arranged by the New York-based Californian fortysomething complemented by standards ‘Spring Is Here’,‘Tenderly’, the pick, and ‘April in Paris.’ A pleasant surprise. SG
Jason Jackson, above

If trombone is really your thing why not try out this small group Jay-and-Kai-themed outing, released earlier this summer