As the title New Orleans Trombonisms suggests, Craig Klein has shown great care in the selection of tunes to feature on his album. Not only does this repertoire showcase a variety of rhythms and styles, many of them truly unique to New Orleans, but its subject matter often refers directly to the culture of the Crescent City. Except for this one. Unlike an adopted N’awlins tune like “Casanova,” I have not found a direct connection to New Orleans other than that “When I Fall In Love” has become a traditional jazz ballad. Maybe it is simply Klein’s favorite ballad. What’s your favorite ballad? Mine? Stephen Sondheim's "Wait" from Sweeney Todd.
Every album, every set, every list of tunes should include a ballad, maybe even two, a moderately slow and relaxed number that features a lyrical melody which can be sung through your horn. But what you quickly realize is that playing slowly is more of a demanding task than it appears because it leaves you vulnerable as a performer. However, by allowing the music to breathe is what gives it life and an instantly recognizable human trait. And like many classical trombonists will gladly point out, one of the strengths of the trombone is its ability to mimic perhaps the most unique human trait of them all, the voice.
The singable melody of this tune is not challenging, yet its graceful leaps are difficult to replicate on any instrument. But the flexibility of the voice and the trombone have made them both ideal for expressiveness. In fact, the horn is merely an extension of the vocalization process, controlling the lip vibration for pitch in place of the vocal cords, and the process depends entirely on the breath support. Because of the steady and consistent stream of air behind his tone, Klein is able to make the melodic leaps with ease and lyricism.
Here is a YouTube video of Dennis Rollins performing this tune with Maceo Parker’s band.