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Sudden Impact by Frank Darmiento

Frank Darmiento’s Sudden Impact is a good, straight-ahead jazz album with original compositions and varied arrangements from the leader and trombonist. He is a fine player and clearly a jazz fan, but his release offers little creativity or technical adventures.

The release contains about half original compositions and half standards. The compositions are well constructed, memorable and easy to catch on to. Unfortunately, Mr. Darmiento plays all the heads on trombone and lacks some technical facility. For instance, on "Lightning Always Strikes Twice", he plays the melody on alto trombone (which was originally arranged for violin, he tells us in the liner notes), but he is obviously having difficulty with the speed and the intervallic playing.

His improvisation contains similar problems. Although he uses good ideas, including bop, swing, and blues licks, he lacks the physical capacity to create exciting phrases with any endurance.

His ballad playing is very good. His expression is excellent on the trombone, using vocal techniques and phrasing. He also is able to avoid the common mistake of simply overlaying a double time solo on a ballad piece. The slower tempo gives him the opportunity to further investigate his ideas and create appealing lines. "My Old Flame" is the perfect example of this on this album.

The band is similarly talented. The pianist and bassist use both acoustic and electronic instruments, demonstrating how to play both. So many players are tempted to play the acoustic and electric instruments similarly. However, Joel Robin and Steve Millhouse are equipped to handle both very well. The band is united well; each giving a similar interpretation of not only the heads and arrangement but also the solos. The album is in general an amusing, uncomplicated release.

The most impressive aspects of Sudden Impact are the arrangements and compositions. Frank Darmiento incorporates rock, blues, swing, bop, and classical. The rock introduction to "Bye, Bye Blackbird" by the pianist is thoroughly entertaining. Frank Darmiento’s talents as a writer are on full display here, and are impressive. But his playing leaves something to be desired in general.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Frank Darmiento
  • CD Title: Sudden Impact
  • Genre: Straight-Ahead / Classic
  • Year Released: 2004
  • Record Label: Summit Records
  • Rating: Three Stars
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