Showing that its debut album Trio West Plays Holiday Songs (Yummy House, 2007) was no fluke, leader Tobias Gebb begins this album with a direct homage to Ahmad Jamal on his medley of "Poinciana/What Time Is It?" Not only does pianist Eldad Zvulun employ Jamal's idiosyncratic use of spacing but drummer Gebb is all a-chatter with Vernell Fournier-like flourishes, notably at the start and finish of this tune but also throughout the presentation. Zvulun is given another chance to shine on the bossa nova original from Gebb that follows, "Brasil Bela."
This album provides not only healthy dollops of the trio, but in addition, Gebb arranges for tenor saxophonist Joel Frahm and vocalist Champian Fulton to make several guest appearances. The net effect of their presence gives a richness and variety to the album. Frahm first appears on Gebb's "The Barnyard" with a swaggering solo and Fulton's first appearance is a vocal on Peter DeRose's "Autumn Serenade" that hasn't been heard much since the 1963 version by Johnny Hartman and John Coltrane. Frahm also provides some nice fills on this track.
One of Tobias Gebb's best assets is his use of the brushes which he aptly demonstrates throughout the album, notably on the Neal Hefti composition "Cute," which has served as a tour de force for many percussionists.
The trio continues to entertain with its versions of several standards and additional tunes from Gebb. Lennon/McCartney's concluding "And I Love Her" is presented in a "Quiet Village"-type lounge setting, leaving the intention unclear. The hidden untitled track is an inexplicable catharsis of barnyard noises with no apparent meaning in the context of this fine album.
Track Listing: Poinciana, What Time Is It?; Brasil Bela; The Barnyard; Star-Crossed Lovers; Autumn Serenade; Cute; Wil O'the Wisp; What a Little Moonlight Can Do; Two by Two; How Deep Is the Ocean; The Monument (Soldiers and Sailors); And I Love Her.
Jazz and the blues--because together this musical brother and sister speak from our nation's days of the current cultural affairs and the authenticity and truth of a place where the rhythms held the pulse and the drums the heartbeat, representing every step closer the meat on the bone
Jazz and the blues--because together this musical brother and sister speak from our nation's days of the current cultural affairs and the authenticity and truth of a place where the rhythms held the pulse and the drums the heartbeat, representing every step closer the meat on the bone. Feet in the dirt, or barefoot on a stage with sequins--it's soul beats in my chest.
I was first exposed to jazz while others listened to surf music in the '50s and '60s, it was Monk, Miles, Satchmo and Ella, Rosemary Clooney and Julie London followed. Margaret Whiting, Les McCann, Willie Bobo, Andy Simpkins, Snooky Young, Bill Basie and Helen Humes. The first time I heard Topsy, Take 2, I about passed out at the age of ten.
I've hung with Les McCann who more than 30 years after our first meeting became my duet partner on my CD, Don't Go To Strangers. Karen Hernandez from the start, Jack Le Compte on drums, Lou Shoch on bass, Steve Rawlins as my arranger and pianist, Grant Geissman - guitar genius, Nolan Shaheed, Richard Simon, and more. The big boys. My Red Hot Papas. The best show I ever attended was...
I met Helen Humes first back in 1981 and helped turn one Playboy Jazz Festival night into her tribute, bring the Basie Band to stage, her joy boys. Before she took the stage for the last time to sing, If I could Be With You One Hour Tonight thousands of copies of the newspaper I wrote for carried her story. It was kismet, her being held by Joe Williams backstage. Soon in my life were the great Linda Hopkins who told me I sang the song she wrote better than her, which floored me of course, the energizing Barbara Morrison and the stellar Marilyn Maye who guided me professionally.
My advice to new listeners... let your backbone slip and feel your body stripping back the barriers that prevent us from being one with the music.
Remember none of us are strangers, we just haven't met yet.