There was a time, not so long ago, when trombonists were the butt of a slew of corny jokes. The prevailing attitude, particularly outside of New Orleans and its brass-band tradition, was that they were non-essentials—the Rodney Dangerfield of instrumentalists. That perception has changed dramatically with more and more trombone players taking a leadership role in everything from funk—think Bonerama, Trombone Shorty, Big Sam’s Funky Nation—to the modern jazz of Delfeayo Marsalis and outside jazz of Jeff Albert.
David Phy, a Kentucky native and now New Orleans resident and professor at the University of New Orleans, jumps on the tailgaters’ bandwagon, swinging to both jazz standards and original material on the cleverly titled Me, Myself and Phy. With Phy playing tenor trombones, the low tones are enforced by the addition of bass trombonist Jeff Albert. This combination, plus the way the material is arranged, results in many of the selections having a big-band flavor as heard on Phy’s opener, “Gone After You.”
Phy bows to legendary trombonists who came before by performing J.J. Johnson’s at –first-mournful “Lament” and “T.D.’s Dilemma,” a tune based on Tommy Dorsey’s theme song written by Scott Reeves. The ambiance of this album changes a bit when Joe Kennedy moves from piano to organ on Phy’s self-penned “Michelle’s Blues”—which features a quiet solo by bassist Alan Broome. Drummer Cori Walters gets some airtime on Wayne Shorter’s “Black Nile.” All these guys, by the way, presently live in New Orleans.
Me, Myself and Phy restates the case of the trombone’s natural place at center stage when played and backed by fine musicians.