The trombonist – always the bridesmaid, the ugly duckling – you sometimes wonder where jazz would be if Miles or Coltrane were trombone players. Sure the big band era had its fair share of t-bone wielding leaders, JJ Johnson showed the slider could rip up be-bop’s rule book and more recently Trombone Shorty has delivered his infectious T-funk grooves but the trombone still seems to struggle to get out of the jazz back line.
Maybe that’s where Kasperi Sarikoski comes in. The well- travelled Finnish trombonist is raising the flag for his instrument, waking the contemporary jazz world up to its possibilities and power. First we had the steely dynamic forcefulness of his post rock jazz quintet Nuance and now in a bolder move he is fronting a trio with the release of ‘3+1’ his sophomore album released via Outside in Music on 23rd October.
Kasperi recognises the risks that the trombone- bass- drums set up presents: “Being a sole horn player without the backup of a pianist or guitarist brings a lot of responsibility and challenges one to find ways to keep the listener captivated from track to track”. But judging by the preview track ‘Wide Lanes’ he has taken this opportunity to push his music to a new dizzying level. Veering between heavy swing and pacey hard bop the track sends out that rush that only the best driving jazz trios can deliver but with a contemporary discipline and focus (additional shout out to Simon Wilson and Francesco Ciniglio on bass and drums) . Signs are ‘3+1’ could be the real deal.