Title - Out Of Focus
Artist - Nick Finzer
Following on the heels of Nick Finzer’s 2020 Release Cast of Characters; the trombonist and composer found himself with more time to focus on himself and his artistry than he anticipated, leading to a boon of creative practice curated by the lockdowns that the year had to offer.
“Rather than sit at home and complain,” says Finzer, “I decided to see what projects I could dream up that might only take place when you can’t be in the same place as your usual collaborators.”
The result is a wide-ranging exploration of settings that the 2020 Downbeat Rising Star Trombonist has yet to explore on his new 2021 release Out of Focus (due out November 12th, 2021 via Outside In Music).
1. Sing a Song of Song
2. The Star Crossed Lovers
5. Mood Indigo
7. Bright Size Life
8. Single Petal of a Rose
Opening on a breathtakingly reimagined version of the Kenny Garrett composition Sing a Song of Song (which also features NYC Multi-Instrumentalist Dr. Reginald Chapman and Finzer’s colleague from the University of North Texas, drummer Quincy Davis), that is backed by a wholly new interpretation of the Duke Ellington classic The Star Crossed Lovers (from his Such Sweet Thunder Suite, arranged for five trombones), and then we get the lushly traditional jazz quartet setting for Hoagy Carmichael’s Stardust (featuring the stellar rhythm section of Xavier Davis on piano, Jay Anderson on bass, and Quincy Davis on drums) and the stirringly ambient solo piece Laura.
Next up is a 15-Trombone Arrangement of another Ellington classic Mood Indigo, the melancholy of mystery found within the dark hues featuring the addition of Bass Trombonist Jennifer Wharton (leader of her own trombone group: Bonegasm, as well as Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society), another solo piece in the form of JJ Johnson’s Judy, before the album rounds out on another new arrangement of a classic from the jazz canon, Pat Metheny’s Bright Size Life (again featuring Davis on piano, Anderson on bass, and Davis on drums), closing on one final solo piece, another Ellington work entitled Single Petal of a Rose.
On Out of Focus Finzer puts his compositional pen to the side, to explore many compositions that have informed his growth as an artist since his early days as a trombonist.
This collection of pieces is a document of a time in our history known colloquially by some as “the great pause” - and the process of focusing on his artistry created an outlet for the stress and anxiety that the lockdowns presented us all.
“It took a long time to make this statement for me… the overwhelm was real last year. I’m very glad I persisted here and now have the chance to share some music that I really love, with the community.”
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