It has been well documented that the Covid-19 pandemic has played havoc with the careers of the participants in the arts. The members of the Kyle Asche Organ Trio have also felt its sting. But fortunately they have a musical snapshot of the final time they made music together in March 2020, which forms the basis of this release entitled Five Down Blues. In this live eight track session, guitarist Asche along with Pete Benson on Hammond Organ and drummer George Fludas demonstrate what it means to be a "working"jazz trio.
The compositions used in this outing, in addition to a few originals and several standards, include two numbers from the pen of organist Melvin Rhyne, who was best known for his time with guitarist Wes Montgomery. The trio opens with the title track, "Five Down Blues," which has a slinky funky groove lead by Asche's fleet fingered guitar riffs. As Benson picks up the theme, he shows the expansive sound he develops on the instrument, while Fludas is musically expressive on the drum breaks. Up next is the first of the Rhyne tunes, "Dorothy," followed somewhat later by "Life, Light, Love." The first has a Latin flavour built on an ascending chord structure with an interesting balance of tempo and time. The latter is a lovely ballad in which Benson gives full measure with long drawn out notes and sly warmth. Asche works his way up and down the fretboard with a strong linear framework.
A couple of jazz icons have also contributed compositions to the recording. Pianist Horace Silver's " Pretty Eyes" and tenor saxophonist Harold Land's "Delirium," each offer a different style and tempo. On the former, there is a Latin vibe that drives a sensational melody with lyrical phrasing. Asche's guitar spins a sonic path that conveys a sense of forward motion. The latter number is an up tempo flow of single notes on which both Asche and Benson devise their improvisations, giving depth to the composition.
The closing track, an original from Asche called " Dig Deep" is an appropriate bookend to this outing. It has a melody that is filled with intimacy and rhythmic imagery that seems to impart a sense of collegiality among the members of the group. It is a fitting reminder of the attributes that sustain performing musicians.
Five Down Blues; Dorothy; Pretty Eyes; Delirium; Light, Life, Love; Never Let Me Go; Dirty
Fingers; Dig Deep