"Stepping In" - Vin Gordon

"Stepping In" (PDF) from the Vin Gordon album, Gordon In de Garden, Vol. 1.
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Here's the thing that I'm learning about dub music in relation to trombone solos: it's all about the groove.  It might sound like I'm trying to weasel my way out of putting any thought into this essay, but with this style of groove music, it doesn't really matter what the trombone plays.  In this case, the purpose of the trombone is to add sonic effect to a deep, well-established groove.

In comparison, Fred Wesley's funk is groove music and his playing tightly weaves in and out of "the pocket."  Most New Orleans brass bands usually work within the traditional form of 16 bars, and the soloing focuses on the phrasing to compliment the arrangement.  Trombone Shorty combines all of these to set up "the note" that will make an energetic crowd erupt.

Vin Gordon's music really isn't about Vin Gordon, it's about how tight his rhythm section is.  His job is to simply add the flourishes to the work of others.  In fact, this was how dub music, and studio remixes were created.  I don't believe this is cheating, or laziness, because the ultimate goal for Gordon is to make people forget that there's a trombone playing, to get out of the way of the music.  And the trombone effects are meant to put the listener over the top, to send them off, to get them lost in the groove.  I mean, it's the Caribbean.  What else is there to do with yourself?

I don't have any detailed, analytical notes about this solo, other than to just watch the rhythms, as they should be played very loosely and relaxed.  The weirdest thing I noticed was that the opening melody is played in G minor, and then moves up to A minor for the rest of the tune.  Huh.  I guess just keep practicing your scales and intervals...

Hey check it out!  Here's a YouTube video of Vin Gordon playing this tune live.  Notice how the different drum groove forces the soloist to have to lead the band.  Enjoy.

Recommended Reading:  Travels With My Trombone: A Caribbean Journey by Henry Shukman.  Published by Crown Publishers, Inc.  (This may be out of print)