Ray Anderson has helped greatly to revolutionize the art of the trombone. Equal parts experimentalist, vaudevillian, and virtuoso, Anderson is a musician of varied talents. On Wishbone, his best album to date, what seems to be Anderson’s artistic wish comes true: He has crafted music bristling with humor, respect for the mainstream jazz tradition, and effortless technical command. As a composer, he nods toward the rubbery rhythmic sense of Thelonious Monk on the crooked ”The Gahtooze,” and samples spicy Caribbean rhythms on ”Ah Soca.” As an interpreter, he brings a muscular lyricism to Charles Mingus’ ”Duke Ellington’s Sound of Love” and he craftily reroutes ”Cheek to Cheek” from the normal 4/4 meter to a quirkier 7/4, creating an exotic merger of a waltz and a swing groove. Cheeky, yes, but it works. Anderson is more than the class clown of the trombone world. He gets to the heart of the music by way of the funnybone. A-

  • Music