Throughout its daunting and often storied existence, jazz has always managed to hold its own, in spite of the highs and lows of controversy. The music has done so by providing innovation, culturally rich enhancements and some of the most prolific musicians to have ever graced the planet. One of those individuals who has captured jazz's rich 100-plus year legacy is trombonist Stan Bock. His brand of artistic expression not only captivates listeners, it also grooves along the path of a "jazz activated sound energy ray." In coming within earshot of Stan Bock's music, listeners become moths drawn to a flame. For newly introduced individuals such as myself, the question is: "Where have you been Stan Bock, your music is awesome?" Listening to the latest release from this ensemble of Stan's entitled 'Night Grooves,' there is an immediate hypnotic event. This CD carries jazz to a level seldom experienced or seen since the 1970s. At that time, contemporary jazz was charismatically full of improvised rhythms, soulful grooves and harmonic displays of musicianship.
Stan Bock's focus on music has been instilled in him since age 15, when he played trombone in his father's Dixieland jazz band. Through formal education at Fort Hays State and the University of Northern Iowa, as well as a stint in the United States Air Force Band, Stan has become the consummate musician. When he arrived in Portland, Oregon after many years of touring and recording, he took the city by storm. Since the mid 1990s, Stan Bock has garnered a reputation of being one of the most sought after trombonists in Portland. When he is not playing jazz to enthusiastic crowds all over the United States, Stan maintains a presence as a faculty member at Willamette University in Salem, Oregon. In between teaching duties, he has recorded two solo CD's, but has recently decided to offer the jazz world 'Night Grooves' on the OA2 Record Label.
This time out, Stan Bock has put together an all-star ensemble filled with some of Portland's finest musicians. 'Night Grooves' is a mesmerizing display of talented individuals with a penchant for excellence. There are elements of funk and circumstance, which alternates between melodic influences and introspective reflection. The recording is romantic on some tracks, but can systematically jump into a groove that is filled with hot licks. Make no mistake about it, if you listen to the Stan Bock Ensemble for more than a minute, 'Night Grooves' will become an automatic addition to your CD player.