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

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Symbiosis DRV0001



  1. Utopia

  2. Reverence

  3. Symbiosis

  4. Hark!

  5. Senhora Do Almort„o

  6. Walk In Their Shoes

  7. Money

  8. Boneyard

  9. Bakkra

  10. The Rose

Dennis Rollins - Trombone, electronics

Ross Stanley - Hammond B3 organ

Pedro Segundo - Drums, percussion

Dennis Rollins is a leading British trombone player, associated most with his quintet, Badbone, founded in 2000. Other groups with which his name is synonymous are Boneyard, and his Velocity Trio, featured on this album. Rollins' influences include Fred Wesley, J J Johnson and Frank Rosolino. His roots initially were in jazz-funk and that emphasis shows up from time to time but he is a consummate musician across the board. He also brings an infectious vitality to live performance. The Velocity Trio released their first album in 2011 (The 11th Gate). The other members of the group are impressive in their own right. Ross Stanley is a pianist and organist who, since graduating from the Guildhall School of Music, has played with a host of luminaries on the British jazz scene. Pablo Segundo grew up in Portugal and is in his fourth year as house drummer at Ronnie Scott's legendary jazz club in London. Symbiosis, both the album's title and the name of one of the tracks, refers, of course, to the interdependent nature of these musicians. That reality also finds expression in much of the writing and arrangement on the disc which is collaborative, with only three exceptions.

There are some strong performances and tunes on show. Senhora Do Almorto, a piece by Jose 'Zeca' Alfonso, a Portuguese political songwriter, is a listenable, slow and flowing melody. Money, a Pink Floyd hit from 1973, is given an imaginative treatment, though I confess to wondering whether a trio was the best vehicle for it. I was won over as the track progressed, however. Another track from the popular music back catalogue is singer/songwriter Amanda McBroom's The Rose, popularised by Bette Midler. The group combine to create a beautiful and creative version of the song. Of the originals to be heard here, I found Boneyard the pick of the bunch. It has an accessible theme with groovy undertones, a superb lead from Rollins backed by bluesy organ from Stanley. This brief summary by no means exhausts the highlights on the disc. Segundo is an essential part of the proceedings, tidy, discreet and lively in turn. He gets the opportunity to strut his stuff on a solo track, Walk In Their Shoes. Anyone playing the Hammond organ has the legacy of Jimmy Smith to contend with, but Ross Stanley rises to the challenge. He can be exuberant as on Symbiosis, stylish as on Reverence, or soulful as on Senhora Do Almorto. Dennis Rollins reminded me just about everywhere of why the trombone sound has such an appeal. I loved his moody finale to Symbiosis and his sheer liveliness on Bakkra but these are only some of the pleasures he offers on this recording

Rollins' Velocity Trio are attentive to one another in the way that the best musicians can be. In his brief liner notes, Dennis says of their interaction that '...the sole purpose is to allow our hearts to sing'. Listeners to this album may well find themselves sharing that experience.

James Poore

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