"Heavy Skank" - Vin Gordon
Outside, the sky is gray. There is a thin dusting of snow on the ground and once the sun breaks through it will all melt away. The wind and breeze from the lake is tame and chilly, fluctuating just enough to surprise you, but with a slap in the face instead of a punch. The frosty sting is bearable like a glove on the hand that just slapped you, not like the bone-chilling right cross from Old Man Winter. This has been Chicago's winter for 2012, nothing to write home about, nothing about which to brag.
"Heavy Skank" is a tune with no great shakes. The melody makes nice use of moving thirds. The solos are not very lyrical, however, or even much to remember. At times, Gordon leaps up to the high B, the 9th, for a little melodic tension, and also messes with some chromatic neighbor-tones to create, more or less, sounds. While his subdivision of the rhythms is not even, it is fairly consistent and also the product of breaking the lip partials of the trombone. But these ideas just seem to be fragmented and incomplete.
Six weeks ago, a groundhog predicted a extensively warm winter. Everything about that sentence is wrong. I like winter, but not this mild in-between period that has lasted three months. I like Vin Gordon too, but not this haphazard showing. And maybe the fact that I am not living on a Caribbean island right now has affected my mood lately, but I can not wait to be done working on this album. I just have to keep telling myself, "Only a couple more weeks…"
Here's a nice long YouTube video (16min) of Vin Gordon's band playing last summer. It should last you until spring.
Recommended Reading: Total Trombone: 13 Etudes by Michael Davis. Published by Hip-Bone Music.