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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf

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The 11th Gate

Motema 233437



1. Samba Galactica
2. Emergence
3. Everything is Mind
4. Ujamma
5. Contemplation
6. The Other Side
7. Big Chill
8. Lightworker
9. Freedom Jazz Dance
10. Illuminous
11. The 11th Gate

Dennis Rollins - Trombone, electronics
Ross Stanley - Hammond organ
Pedro Segundo - Drums, percussion


Organ trios often use a saxophonist or guitarist but this one employs a trombonist, which makes it a little bit different. In fact the trombone blends well with the organ, perhaps because both instruments can work in a low register. But sometimes the trombone soars above the organ and drums. Dennis Rollins is an experienced player and he solos fluently and often with great power. He's a British musician with Jamaican parentage and has played with such diverse artists as Maceo Parker, Courtney Pine, Blur and Tom Jones. His experience with Maceo Parker ensures that he can play with funky feeling, which can be very stimulating.

The album title refers to the date 11/11/11, which was Dennis's 47th birthday and also the date when this album was released. Seven of the eleven tracks are compositions by Rollins (one co-written with J. Shorten), with one each by organist Ross Stanley and Portuguese drummer Pedro Segundo, plus Eddie Harris's Freedom Jazz Dance. The choice of Harris's funk anthem reminds us of Rollins' reputation in this type of music. It starts at a slowish beat but soon speeds up impetuously. The tempo varies further as Rollins gets (deliberately) out of sync with the drums and organ.

However, not all the tracks are in funky mode. Samba Galactica mixes hints of the samba with jazz-rock and other jagged rhythms. Ujamma opens with unaccompanied multi-tracked trombones which lead into a swaying feel. The title-tune also multi-tracks Rollins to create a richly harmonic trombone choir. Pedro Segundo's Contemplation starts with a multi-faceted drum solo emerging into a gentle bossa-style number. The Other Side has a mystical touch, with Rollins' trombone reaching upwards. And Ross Stanley's Lightworker is not afraid to evoke the sound of the theatre organ.

Ross Stanley adds worthwhile solos throughout, and Pedro Segundo keeps the rhythm brewing. Motema is an American label but this is their first British signing - and very well-deserved.

Tony Augarde

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