The piano trio has always been at the heart of jazz, and this acoustic threesome reminds the listener why. Adhering to the modern mainstream, the trio’s members converse and participate equally in a session that includes light rhythmic drama and expressive ballads. Eddie Gomez worked with pianist Bill Evans for eleven years and the influence is unmistakable; Stefan Karlsson and Jimmy Cobb also share the harmonic & melodic Evans mark.
Gomez, 54, was born in Puerto Rico and grew up in New York City. He began study of the double bass at age 11 and attended the High School of Music and Art before entering the prestigious Juilliard School of Music. His career has included associations with Hank Jones, McCoy Tyner, Lee Konitz, Miles Davis and Sarah Vaughn. Gomez and Jeremy Steig were high school classmates who began their professional careers together and have remained close. Karlsson, who is from Sweden and now resides in and teaches at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, shows a love of the melody. Drummer Cobb, as well, maintains a melodic approach throughout the session. As evidence of the myriad influences surrounding the leader of this session, Gomez expresses thanks in the liner notes to his parents and teacher as well as to "Miles, Trane, Sonny, Bill, Louis, Paul, Scott, Ray, Philly Joe, Red, Mozart, Vivaldi, Bach, Debussy, Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky, Brahms, Sinatra, Ella, and others."
The opening of "Nardis" is a dramatic bass solo that evolves into a unison portrayal of the familiar melody by flute, piano and bass. Steig goes on to share the solo spotlight with an excited excerpt that contains vocal rants directed through the instrument alongside his flute sound. Cobb lays out on "Just Friends" so that bass and piano can improvise and swing the walking bass with clarity. "When You Wish Upon a Star," which to generations summons up a Walt Disney thought or two, is presented by the trio as the tender ballad it represents. The composer of that song, Ned Washington, is also responsible for jazz standards such as "I’m Getting Sentimental Over You," "My Foolish Heart," "Stella By Starlight," and (not as frequently called up) "I Don’t Stand a Ghost of a Chance With You."
From the lush expression of Gomez’s bowed bass on the love theme from "Spartacus" to his dramatic plucked solo on Wayne Shorter’s "Footprints," the bassist has assembled a stellar mainstream session that constitutes a worthwhile dedication to those who have gone before him.
Personnel: Eddie Gomez- bass; Stefan Karlsson- piano; Jimmy Cobb- drums; Jeremy Steig- flute*.