Chris Buckholz | Versatility

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Classical: Contemporary Jazz: Mainstream Jazz Moods: Solo Instrumental
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by Chris Buckholz

A groundbreaking double album of classical, jazz and Latin music from crossover trombonist Chris Buckholz.
Genre: Classical: Contemporary
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Arrows of Time: I. Up
4:22 $0.99
2. Arrows of Time: II. Slow, Freely
5:29 $0.99
3. Arrows of Time: III. Fast
3:07 $0.99
4. Darn That Dream
5:22 $0.99
5. Aria et Polonaise, Op. 128
8:09 $0.99
6. Improvisation No. 1
2:55 $0.99
7. Descarga
6:25 $0.99
8. Piece Concertante
8:09 $0.99
9. The Avenue
14:45 $0.99
10. Druid Hill
9:35 $0.99
11. Sonata Vox Gabrieli
8:24 $0.99
12. Sonata in D Minor: I. Allegro e non presto
4:34 $0.99
13. Sonata in D Minor: II. Adagio
4:19 $0.99
14. Sonata in D Minor: III. Allegro
3:15 $0.99
15. Melancolica
5:15 $0.99
16. Improvisation On Vocalise No. 8
2:10 $0.99
17. Improvisation On Vocalise No. 15
2:51 $0.99
18. Pino Trail Blues
4:06 $0.99
19. The Sea-Shells Waltz
8:18 $0.99
20. All the Things You Are
3:35 $0.99
21. Pastorale
3:52 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
For years, I’ve heard trombonists say that you have to devote yourself to either classical music or jazz; you can’t do both. I hope that this double album helps to prove that a trombonist can indeed do both.

Arrows of Time

Richard Peaslee’s 1995 concerto for trombone was written in consultation with the great Joseph Alessi (and Jim Pugh). Like many works composed for Alessi, it presents a tremendous challenge for both the soloist and the ensemble. It is a perfect example of a Third Stream piece: a classically composed work that incorporates jazz rhythms and harmony. Although it is strongly rhythmic, it rarely settles into one meter or groove for a long stretch. The transitions are seamless and the listener is caught up in the overall flow of the piece rather than the changes occurring for the performers. The trombone part covers a remarkable range of over four octaves, and the wind band arrangement by Joshua Houser does a beautiful job of showing off soloists and sections within the ensemble.

Although classical trombonists typically perform this work, it was inspired by the Bill Holman/Bill Russo era of the Stan Kenton Orchestra and its star trombone soloist, Frank Rosolino. The first movement is essentially a jazz waltz, but with 5/8 measures thrown in to keep everyone off balance. The second movement is a soaring ballad with gravitas. The third movement is an energetic closer, with lots of meter changes reminiscent of 1970s “prog rock” and short phrases traded between the soloist and ensemble.
Darn That Dream

This is my arrangement in an Urbie Green “21 Trombones” style, with me overdubbing the 20 piece trombone choir. Overdubbing multiple trombone parts is nothing new; Lloyd Ulyate (aka “Elliott”) did this in 1964 on his album “Lloyd Elliott and his Trombone” and it’s a beautiful effect. The commercial trombone style of the 1950s and 60s, exemplified by magnificent players like Urbie Green, Dick Nash, Lloyd Ulyate, Joe Howard and Bill Watrous, is rapidly becoming a lost art. I hope this contributes in some small way to keeping it alive.

Aria et Polonaise, Opus 128

Joseph Jongen’s Aria et Polonaise is a piece written in a slow/fast style very characteristic of works written for the Paris Conservatory, although Jongen taught at the Royal Conservatoire in Brussels. It is one of my very favorite pieces for trombone and piano and has been recorded several times before. Its smooth beauty is totally incongruous with its World War II composition date; it sounds like it must have been written before 1920.

Improvisation #1

I’ve played avant-garde works for solo trombone over the years and often thought “I could improvise something like this”. Unlike many compositions for solo trombone bearing the title “improvisation”, this is an actual improvisation. I created several motives and strung them together in the moment. I’ve tried to use the “language” of the twentieth-century avant-garde, including extremes of register, wa-wa/vocal effects, atonal and tonal sections, humor and some real ugliness! The harmon mute is a great medium for these components. While I have performed this piece before and use the same basic motives, it comes out differently every time.


Latin Music has always been a great friend to the trombone. The trombone is to Latin Music what the saxophone is to jazz and guitar to pop music. A “descarga” is an improvised instrumental piece typical to Cuban music. I’ve written this tune to have several different rhythmic feels, and it was great to play with this rhythm section. The trombone trio overdubs are mine, with some raggedy-ness left in to sound live and not like a synthesizer.

Pièce Concertante, Opus 27

Carlos Salzédo was an incredible harpist and a fine composer. This is his only work for solo trombone. It’s a nice combination of late Romantic and Impressionistic styles. Unlike the typical Paris Conservatory work for trombone and piano, Pièce Concertante has many different sections of tempos and moods. I’ve tried to emphasize that character of the piece and still have it flow well.

The Avenue

I wrote this piece in a 1960s Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers style. It begins with a drum solo, like Curtis Fuller’s “The Egyptian”. There’s a lot of solo space over a long form for everybody. “The Avenue” refers to the nickname for Pennsylvania Avenue in Baltimore, where most of the jazz clubs were during the 1950s and 60s.

Druid Hill

Another composition of mine with a title inspired from my years of living in Baltimore. Druid Hill is the name of a very large park just north of downtown, and also of the neighborhood that surrounds it. The neighborhood has many very large, beautiful old homes, and I guess the nature of this melody reminded me of its past and present.

Sonata “Vox Gabrieli”

This is, beyond a doubt, the most recorded classical piece for trombone and piano, along with Arthur Pryor’s “Blue Bells of Scotland”. It’s easy to see why: it lies well on the instrument and shows it off to great effect, it’s powerfully emotional and a fine example of a late Romantic-styled work. The piano part is much more difficult than the trombone part; good thing I had my friend and Rachmaninoff expert Sean Botkin to play it!

Concerto in D minor, Opus 9, no. 2

Originally written by Albinoni as an oboe concerto, this work has been transcribed for many instruments in modern times. The second movement is especially beautiful, and the outer movements show off the technical capabilities of the alto trombone. This edition was created by one of my very favorite classical trombonists, Mark Lawrence.


This is a slow samba written by my good friend and University of Northern Iowa colleague, Bob Washut. I loved it when I first heard it and asked Bob to write a feature arrangement for me with big band. UNM Jazz I did a great job with it and I’m very thankful to their director Glenn Kostur for recording it.

Improvisations on Vocalises No. 8 and 15

I like to practice with recordings as it really helps with intonation. There are several editions of recordings for the Bordogni vocalise piano parts that you can play along with. I realized that you could improvise over them, just as you would with a jazz play-along track. So these are improvisations in a Bel Canto style over the Bordogni piano parts. Like a jazz improvisation, they come out differently each time.

Pino Trail Blues

I love all kinds of jazz styles and grew up listening to the early jazz trombonists Jack Teagarden, Lawrence Brown, and Dicky Wells. This is a tribute to their era. The Pino Trail is a mountain trail outside of Albuquerque where I learned that carrying our son, Cody, is an excellent method of resistance training. Particularly when climbing uphill.

The Sea-Shells Waltz

Frederick Innes’s “The Sea-Shells Waltz” was an unpublished work for over a century, and unknown to trombonists for almost that long. Despite its obscurity, it is incredibly important to trombone history. It is the earliest solo extant for trombone and wind band composed by the first great trombone soloist of the band era.

Frederick Neil Innes was an Englishman who made his reputation by performing cornet solos on the trombone. He was heard by American bandleader Patrick Gilmore in Paris in 1879 and immediately hired to join his band. At the time, Gilmore also had one of the greatest cornetists of all time in his ensemble: Jules Levy. Innes’s job with the band initially was to perform—on the slide trombone--the exact same solo Levy had just played on the cornet. This was done in part to deflate Levy’s epic ego, but also to demonstrate Innes’s supreme talent and the technical potential of the slide trombone in an era of valves.

It was not long before Innes was composing his own virtuosic works, which was expected of all great soloists during that era. While the band was in summer residence at Manhattan Beach in 1880, he premiered “The Sea-Shells Waltz”. He went on to write and publish many other works, but only two of his solo pieces were published during his lifetime, and those were arrangements for cornet and piano. With a lack of published solo material and no solo recordings, Innes’ place in history became completely overshadowed by the great Arthur Pryor.

This edition was created from handwritten parts, dated 1906, in the U.S. Marine Band library in Washington, D.C. Recordings by trombonist Leo Zimmerman from the early 1900s were consulted to help piece it together. The cadenza is Zimmerman’s, but cadenzas by Innes were much more elaborate and could go on for five minutes or more. Many thanks to MSG Jane Cross at the Marine Band library for access to it, Eric Rombach-Kendall and the UNM Wind Symphony for recording it, and to the Research Allocations Committee at the University of New Mexico for funding it.

All the Things You Are

One of the great jazz standards, this tune works at many different tempos. It’s usually performed at a medium tempo, and I was curious to see how it would work at a fast one. Thanks to Jim, Colin and Andy for playing it at this speed!


Originally written for cello and piano, this piece also works very well on the trombone. The composer, Arthur Frackenpohl, edited it for trombone and piano. I first heard this piece played by Jim Miller, Associate Principal Trombonist of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. It was so beautiful I had to learn it. I believe this is the first recording of this work on trombone.



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