August 31, 2004
I was expecting a good show, and I got it. Rick Trolsen is the trombonist for all seasons around town, and since I've seen him with Latin group Chevere and brass band the Nightcrawlers, I figured he'd at least surround himself with grade A musicians. I had no doubts about him. He's golden.
The only thing up in the air was what genre he'd gravitate towards during his set at d.b.a. Tuesday night. I didn't know until after the set that Trolsen recently released "Gringo Do Choro," a CD full of Brazilian choro music from composer Pixinguinha. So, surprise, surprise, Trolsen played a majority of Brazilian tunes and a few originals. He was joined by drummer Doug Belote, guitarist Bill Solley, bassist Donald Ramsey, pianist Eduardo Tozzato, and mandolin player John Eubanks.
No matter the tempo, Trolsen's Brazilian picks were all dance-worthy and happy. This approach mirrored a statement Trolsen recently made to Geraldine Wyckoff of Offbeat magazine: "I tend to gravitate to joyful, celebratory music. I like to have fun, party."
Too bad nobody in the audience was partying with him. Trolsen made note of the empty dancefloor, but still no takers. The crowd increased as the night went on. This is not surprising, as the band was very tight and the music could be heard from the street.
The group had a full sound thanks to the mandolin and Trolsen's use of cowbells when he wasn't blowing. The stand-out was Belote, who added the most flavor with his progressive style.
If he threw in a weird beat for no reason, it added to the music, not the other way around.
Trolsen ended the set with an original song that melded Latin jazz and funk. It was awesome. Doesn't that just sound good, anyway--Latin jazz and funk? The music was soulful and kickin'. I certainly was stomping my foot.
I'm just as guilty as everyone else, though. I didn't dance.