Dennis Rollins

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Reviews of Dennis Rollins


01/12/2011 John Fordham

Dennis Rollins Velocity Trio: The 11th Gate – review(Motema)
With his long-running and uncomplicatedly funky BadBone & Co, British trombonist Dennis Rollins has been easy to typecast as a skilful pop/jazz brassman devoted to a hard-pumping horn sound that goes back to James Brown's bands. But this fine trio set is a real surprise – not because Rollins' expressive virtuosity was ever in doubt, but because he cuts loose here in the company of Hammond organist Ross Stanley and exciting drummer Pedro Segundo to paint a broader canvas of melody and texture than this lineup ought to permit. There's plenty of grooving, of course. Samba Galactica is a staccato trombone/organ hook over a hip-hop-inflected Latin pulse. Emergence has a brisk stop-time theme and a jazz-swinging counter-melody. Ujamma finds Rollins at his breezily voicelike best, and Eddie Harris's Freedom Jazz Dance ingeniously mixes choppy Hammond-punching with loose-limbed soloing. But in between, there are seductive slower interludes, like the subtle dialogue between Rollins and the excellent Stanley on Everything Is Mind, the warmly traditional jazz ballad The Other Side, and the quiet trombone solo And Here I Sit. It's the kind of thing that draws in jazz-doubters, without selling the art down the Swanee.


20/12/2007 John L Walters, ****Guardian

The first time I saw Badbone & Co, trombonist-leader Dennis Rollins was a rising star, making his mark on the UK. Seven years on, both Badbone and Rollins regularly win polls and awards, attesting to their popularity and credibility.
The impressive young team make Rollins' brass-led brand of funk-jazz sound effortless. Alex Bonfanti, on five-string bass, gives the band a fat low end, while funky drummer Jack Pollitt (whom Rollins discovered via MySpace) keeps it tight and clean enough to make it down and dirty.

It is a tribute to Rollins' skill as a leader and instrumentalist that he can do so much with the much-maligned idiom; in his hands, it is a genre with scope for creativity and space for expression. Horn-led bands such as the JBs and Earth Wind and Fire paved the way; Badbone show there is still ground to cover.
Guitarist Johnny Heyes bridges genres, playing a semi-acoustic that gives a jazzy edge to numbers such as Make Your Move; its groove implies a double-time jazz feel emphasised at the close by Bonfanti's walking bass. Fire in the House switches between straight-ahead jazz (led by Jay Phelps' fine trumpet and pianist Chris Gulino) and electronic funk. The finale has both parts running simultaneously - shades of Mingus and Ives.

But Rollins never forgets to entertain - the bad-ass riffs of Funk and Disorderly and (I Say ...) It's Alright are natural crowd-pleasers. On Red Cent, he turns the sound of the crowd to his advantage, creating an instant party mix, and persuades everyone to mimic his improvised phrases. And Rollins' ingenious re-invention of Love the One You're With, unleashing the funky soul of Stephen Stills, is a blockbuster.


17/12/2007 Jack Massarik, **** Evening Standard

Rollins making trombone sexy

George Melly was not everybody's idea of a good time but his passing has left a problematic void in Scotts' Christmas schedules. This band might be the answer.

Leaner, meaner and hipper than Melly ever was, it has the youthful zest, brassy front line and tightly funky rhythm section to satisfy the office-party overspill crowd.

Trumpeter Jay Phelps, guitarist Johnny Hayes and synthman Chris Gulinon all took interesting solos, but Badbone's energy came mainly from its dazzling leader.

Dennis Rollins does for the slide trombone what James Brown once did for singing. Any incipient air-guitarist watching him perform would want to take up the trombone instead.

Playing to two houses a night this past weekend, the dreadlocked Doncaster demon soloed so long and hard that one feared for his lip, but it remained rocklike throughout.

Using rhythm samples and a tone blender that multiplied him into three trombones, he also created attractive ambiences for Phelps, Gulinon and bass-guitarist Alex Bonfanti to embellish.

More than any other trombonist on the international scene, he makes this unfancied instrument sexy, and it's no surprise that Maceo Parker has signed him for a US tour next month.

If dynamic Dennis gets his Green Card he might never come back, which would serve us right. His brief Scott's session closed yesterday. It should be extended immediately.


01/01/2002 The Guardian

He's a contender, more than ready for his moment in the big league


01/01/2002 pHD Funk, The Smoke Magazine

Dennis Rollins is Britain's most promising trombonist in the contemporary jazz and funk scene


01/01/2002 Paul Bradshaw, Straight No Chaser.

Dennis Rollins plays the sexiest trombone in town


01/08/0005  The Independent on Sunday

Dennis is that rarest of jazz beasts: a genuine star


01/08/0005 Paul Gudgin, Director of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival

One of my favourite events at this years Fringe was the appearance of Dennis Rollins (Badbone & Co) at The Underbelly... that titan of the trombone, was simply formidable


01/03/0005 Jack Massarik, Evening Standard

Slide-trombone ace, Dennis Rollins, makes all his rivals sound leaden-footed


01/01/0004 Jazzwise

With Badbone & Co, Dennis has built a reputation as one of Britains most exciting performers, and is building an increasing international following


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