Dr. Ana Isabel Ordonez, Jazzreview
Woolgatherer ways exist for horn lovers; Some Assembly Required has indeed assembled trumpet, flugelhorn, trombone and tenor on the fountainhead. Diener and Anomaly is a criminally grooving band. Guitarist Marty Bonk composed six tracks and the cooking substance is really good stuff. “A Musical Salute to Iceland (Our Friends to the North),” fuse groovy rhythms that sound-reflect Miles’s textures. The gaps are brilliantly filled by Diener (trumpet), Chuck Dressler (trombone) and Chris Heslop’s (tenor sax) solos. Bonk blasts into a funky jazz guitar sound twined with a propensity for country style lines. “Pop-Bop” is a pinchy melodic line. Heslop provoke’s the trumpet and trombone into a sound cohesion while scratchy promenades are eventually introduced by Eric “Meeshu” Boltz . “Bye Bye Blackbird”, a piece arranged by Mike Grossmann and Marty Bonk, is saved by the assertion given by the horns. Open-like parading “Ode to Husqvarna”, acquiesce ore and wood, colliding in a kind of Warne Marsh cool-bop manner. The bluesy “Scooter and Stretch” showcase loose horn spaces mixed with a touch of de-orchestrated Diener attacks and breakneck Gordon gaits. “From The Heart” displays a melodic line with relaxed trumpet tonal sonorities recalling very much a West Coast style. “Mikeys House” features a splendid Grossman keyboard solo. “The Three Brothers” (from a dysfunctional family), is functional marked by Diener’s finger-speed skill, sounding like a Marsalis with disdaining Dressler trombone sounds and caustic Heslop tenor. Some Assembly Required sounds brisk, fresh and vivacious. Attributes that appear appropriated when delineating Rob Diener & Anomaly’s music.
Karl Stober, Clef Notes
Stick with the old yes, but it’s time to get down with the new wave of jazz talent hitting the circuit globally. Out of the independent haven comes a new brass talent that drips of innovation and funk encased with modern feel and harmony, his name is Rob Diener and his new project “Anomaly” is just that! Cool, full of numerous directions and multiple levels of sound Mr. Diener may not be your standard throwback from days gone by however, he is the vision of things to come…”Scooter and Stretch” takes the horn progression to a new cool as it screams out with a number of personalities or as we call it sounds. It has that Tin Pan Alley feel with a new millennium feel…. Give this kid a push and play, and you will not only open his doors but also enhance yours.
Carmel DeSoto, Jazz Police
Rob Diener and Anomaly definitely carry a large funk bag with them when traveling down the music making highway. However, the bag has plenty of smaller compartments of almost anything one would need on the journey, from reggae to swing; it is in the bag somewhere. The listener is not going to find a nice pair of pressed slacks with a dinner tie in this traveling bag. No, only comfortable wrinkled blue jeans (blues) and t-shirts (funk) are packed in this traveling bag entitled, Some Assembly Required. From the first drum beat to the last horn hit this group is all about the raw side of making music feel good. The modern septet interprets seven originals and one jazz standard, “Bye, Bye Blackbird.” Diener’s trumpet sound is warm and focused, and his soulful playing displays obvious respect to the tradition, his is definitely a hard shelled traveling bag and not a soft sided day tripper. Diener is joined by Chris Heslop (tenor sax), Chuck Dressler (trombone), Marty Bonk (guitar), Mike Gordon (electric bass), Mike Grossman (keyboard), and Paul Gallello (drums). The group takes a loose; almost jam band approach to the arrangements. You will have no trouble assembling the music if your travels are accompanied by artists such as: The Godfather of Soul, Phish, seventies Freddie Hubbard, or today’s P.Diddy. Yes, P. Diddy the rapper, only because of the use of turntable scratching, this “ain’t no gansta rap,” its pure funky fun and modern jazz harmony. Overall, Some Assembly Required can be assembled to form a very enjoyable musical listen. The wide ranges of styles are executed with precision by all the players. At times one might wonder if all the players a jelling, but what would Jello surprise be with out different layers and flavors filled with that special “Cool-Whip” surprise, bursting with flavor and colors to delight the senses.
Jim Santella, LA Jazz Scene
With his contemporary septet, trumpeter Rob Diener interprets a program of original compositions by his guitarist, Marty Bonk. Based in Reading, PA. Diener's ensemble strives to bring something new and fresh to the mainstream without departing too far from what's familiar. His up-to-date texture even includes turntable scratches for effect. The trumpeter drives fast and hard. He proves that tradition hasn't been ignored, however, as the septet's interpretation of "Bye, Bye Blackbird" falls into a Freddie Hubbard groove that's both welcome and sincere. Hard rock anxiety give them intensity, and each artist contributes something important to the mix. Their collective mood ranges from Dixieland to bebop and the modern mainstream. Diener's septet has what's required to take on whatever challenging role comes their way.
Dan McClenaghan, All About Jazz
With a three-horn front line and deep-groove rhythm section--do let the good times roll. They come right out of the gate in that fashion with “A Musical Salute to Iceland (Our Friends to the North),” featuring a loose horn arrangement over seismic groove, with lots of space for the soloists--Diener (trumpet), Chuck Dressler (trombone), Chris Heslop (tenor sax)--to get frisky and cut loose....the arrangements sound fresh and interesting. “Record scratcher” Eric “Meeshu” Boltz appears on the opener and the next cut, “Pop Bop,” slipping frictional scritchings in just the right places with a deft touch, adding a tang of modernity without sacrificing the organic feel of the music. “Ode to Husqvarna” does a slow march at its inception, then winds itself up into a sort of Horace Silver-esque cool bop mode, and “Scooter and Stretch” has a relaxed horn feeling over a very danceable groove.....good effort by Rob Diener and Anomaly, a band that sounds like it must kick it in a live setting.
Oscar Groomes, O's Place Jazz Newsletter
O's Notes: Rob puts his trumpet into the lead roll on these mostly new and creative compositions. Co-producer and guitarist Marty Bonk wrote them. The overall session groove has hints of New Orleans and pulses of club rock from time to time but maintains its jazz improv theme along the way. Also included is a modern arrangement of "Bye Bye Blackbird". Drummer Paul Gallero has a good solo on "Ode To Husqvarna", and they push a slow funky beat on "Mikey's House". They mellow a bit on "From the Heart" with nice work form both Marty and Rob rounding out a varied set.
Dan Greenberg, All Music Guide (AMG)
The sophomore album for trumpeter Rob Diener with his group Anomaly shows off a mix of pop-influenced jazz. The tunes on the album, with the exception of the venerable "Bye Bye Blackbird," are penned by guitarist Marty Bonk for the group and take advantage of the collection of horns available (as well as Bonk's guitar, of course). There's some entirely noteworthy playing to be heard. "Bye Bye Blackbird" almost sounds like something the Urban Knights would put out, with a touch of R&B pushed into the jazz backdrop. It's certainly entertaining.
Mike James, Smooth Jazz and More
If you enjoy experimental or “free” jazz, by all means, check it out. Standout tracks such as the sentimental “From the Heart.”
Nicholas Sheffo Fulvue Drive In
It is another of a subcycle of releases in the genre that mixes jamming band playing with post-modern features like scratching and sampling. Good musicianship!
Vangelis Aragiannnis, Greece
Rob Diener is a Philadelphia based trumpeter, who shares his time between classical music, jazz, Latin, funk, and musicals. In his albums though his intentions are quite clear: he wants to make the listeners have fun. This is also the directive of his new (second) album which he uses a trio of horns, four piece rhythm section, and a surplus of high moods.The title of one track, "POP-Bop", says it all. His pop allusive jazz is accessible to all. Rob Diener and Anomaly will absolutely satisfy all those who seek high-spirited entertainment and first class performances by dexterous players.