Online home of trombonist, composer, and educator Michael Dease

Father Figure

Michael Dease, trombone

Behn Gillece, vibraphone

Glenn Zaleski, piano

Endea Owens, bass

Luther Allison, drums

Markus Howell, alto sax (tracks 1, 4, 5, 6, 7, & 9)

Immanuel Wilkins, alto sax (tracks 1, 2, 3, & 5)

Released by Posi-Tone Records on April 22, 2016


1. Church of the Good Hustler - In Robert Rossen's 1961 masterpiece The Hustler, "Fast Eddie" Felsen (played by Paul Newman) strolls into legendary pool shark Minnesota Fat's New York City pool hall hungrily calling it the Church of the Good Hustler. Charlie, his manager and father figure is not so optimistic saying "It looks more like a morgue to me. Those tables are the slabs they lay the stiffs on." One of my favorite movies, it deals with youth, arrogance, loss and understanding in a poignant way along with an innovative jazz-influenced soundtrack.

2. Brooklyn - I wrote this for my daughter Brooklyn when my wife was six months pregnant with her. It took about 15 minutes to compose, perhaps due to the overwhelming sense of love I felt for them. It appeared on the staff paper with no revisions- sometimes it works that way.

3. Cry Of The Wolf - I don't know what exactly wolves howl about. I would guess that they might be lonely, frustrated or angry. It’s hard to say without having knowing any wolves personally. The form of this song is 16/6/6 measures, and is about raw, boiling energy.

4. The Pursuit For Inspiration - I asked one of the saxophonist for this date, Markus Howell (Ft. Lauderdale, FL), to bring something in for us to record. I loved it at the first reading, although I'm not sure exactly what the title means. I use inspiration to help me pursue things, but perhaps this is about the journey towards that discovery.

5. Confirmation - This was called on the date by producer Marc Free with no rehearsal. We just hit it. It's interesting to hear two young blood alto players improvise on Charlie Parker's bebop flagship composition over 70 years after its debut. Also, Parker is is my daughter's middle name, named after my biggest musical influence Charlie Parker. Good call, Marc.

6. Riff Raff - Our take on Grachan Moncur III's blues from Jackie Maclean's legendary album "Destination Out". Although we love and are influenced by the original, there is no emulation happening here. We are being ourselves which is what jazz is all about- I think J Mac would agree.

7. Annette’s For Sure - One of my father figures, Brazilian jazz trumpeter Claudio Roditi, gave me one of my first regular gigs and taught me the traditions of bossa nova and samba. This was composed by Claudio 30 years ago for a mutual friend, Annette, whom I have worked with during my time with the WDR Big Band in Cologne, Germany.

8. Marian The Librarian - This song is one of the many highlights from Meredith Wilson's hit musical "The Music Man.” Robert Preston's original vocal is a tough act to follow, but Glenn Zaleski swings his ass off proving the case for this being an instrumental.

9. Wingspan - Mulgrew Miller was a father figure to many, and a mentor of immeasurable importance to the jazz scene for over 30 years. This song is the title track for the album that also became the name of his working band, showcasing young musicians new to the New York area. Mulgrew was steeped in the jazz tradition while using it to search and find his own directions and sounds.

10. Till There Was You - I sang this to my wife when we were dating. It is marginally possible that she married me to make me stop. Jokes aside, this is a beautiful love song that captures the naïveté of romantic, uninhibited affection akin to "wearing your heart on your sleeve." Use with caution.

11. Father Figure - I wrote this for one of my students and the bassist on this recording, Endea Owens (Detroit, Michigan). Based on the chord changes to "All God's Chillun Got Rhythm,” it was inspired by the camaraderie between Endea and her professor, mentor, friend and father figure bassist Rodney Whitaker. 

Michael Dease Copyright 2016