"Wrong Way" - Sublime

“Wrong Way” (PDF) from the album, Sublime.
Support trombone.alex via Patreon or PayPal

Jon Blondell, that’s who.  The Austin trombonist that somehow recorded the greatest trombone solo in rock history relied upon his jazz background and appreciation for Bill Watrous.  Clearly, there is a place in rock and roll for the doodle-tongue.

Rock solos should always start out big and end even bigger.  Blondell’s tonguing workout is about as high-energy as it gets, however it’s also worth noting that the band brings the music down so that trombone doesn’t have to work as hard.  After the chaotic but controlled start, he glisses in some assumed teases of Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” as well as a jazz chromaticism between the third and the fifth of the chord, meanwhile the band builds upon the momentum into the next vocal section.  Later, Blondell literally ends on a high note as he squeaks out a high E that would make most guitarists scream.  And with this recording, Sublime defined the 3rd Wave of Ska, whether they intended to or not.

Here is a YouTube video of Jon Blondell at a Sublime reunion.

Recommended reading/listening: Sound Opinions show #558: Ska.  Produced by WBEZ Chicago.