The Isle of Bones Bones, Key West’s jazz trombone ensemble, will give its annual concert on Wednesday, January 7, at 7:30 p.m. The venue, as always nowadays, will be the One Island Family Unitarian Universalist Church, at Georgia and Petronia Streets.
The group consists of three trombones, baritone sax, and three rhythm instruments. It will feature Joe Dallas, Sr., the major jazz trombonist of the Pittsburgh area. Joe has appeared many times in the Paradise Big Band (where he will have a starring role in their concert the following Sunday night), in the orchestra of the Key West Pops, and in local clubs. He is an exceptional soloist, with an expressive sound and a comfortably relaxed time feel. The other trombones will be Joe Dallas, Jr., the director of the Paradise band, and Harry Schroeder, who has in recent years become the island’s most prolific musical arranger. Since the local music scene is missing competent bass trombonists, those parts will be played by Georges Hemund on baritone sax. “Georges’ presence is a real improvement in the group,” Schroeder says. “He’s a fine player, with a big rich sound, especially in the lower register of the horn, which gives us an additional texture. And he’s an excellent improviser—very few bass trombonists can improvise at all—so that we have one more soloist.”
The excellent rhythm section will consist of Chris Burchard, guitar; Bubba Barton, bass; and Skipper Kripitz, drums. “Four trombones are a lot of weight to have to drive,” Schroeder says; “it can be like pushing a large rock up a steep hill– but they do it well, and are excellent soloists into the bargain.”
The program will consist of arrangements written by Schroeder for this group. The tunes are mostly familiar jazz standards from all periods of the music; the charts are written with the individual sounds of the players in mind. “There’s a great advantage to writing for people you know, whose playing you’re familiar with,” Schroeder says. “That way you can write to their strengths.”
This concert is now in its tenth consecutive year. It has become an island tradition, as its name indicates—earlier suggestions for the group’s title were “The Funny Bones,” “The Hip Bones,” and, most recently, “The Southernmost Sackbutts,” but civic responsibility prevailed. Audiences in the past have been enthusiastic at the large warm sound and driving energy which the group generates, and many members come to this concert faithfully every year. Randy Becker’s church, intimate and with good acoustics, is its ideal venue. Admission at the door will be $20, with students free.