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Right out of the gate, this is a great recording. Gerry Eastman is the moving force as guitarist, producer, arranger, and photographer. If you dig soul jazz and B3 organ trios, it is a safe bet that you will enjoy this session from start to finish. So many great sounds are conjured up: you hear Wes Montgomery, but Jimmy Ponder too. Charlie Earland and Richard "Groove" Holmes must have gone into Greg Lewis' ears at some point, and of course, Jimmy Smith too. Taru Alexander on drums keeps things moving along and takes a wonderfully musical solo on "St Marteen Swing" that reminds you of the difference between a timekeeper and a percussionist.
No doubt everyone hears "high points" on a recording differently, but "Learn from Your mistakes" just seems to deserve that honor. It is built around a simple progression (i-iv-v, or close), but brings out the best in everyone. The interaction between Eastman, Lewis, and Alexander grows exponentially, the classic building of and release from melodic and rhythmic tension that characterizes good jazz. The tune has everything: form, groove, imagination, and nonstop swing. It resolves on a sort of boppish note that serves as a great introduction to "Just a Matter of time," "Distant lover," and "Dance One." The harmonies may not be complicated, but the blues are the foundation of everything.
Trust Me just seems to do most everything right. It is too alive to be accused of nostalgia and too original to be characterized as mere imitation. One would rather think of it as part of a great tradition that attracted so many young listeners in the 1960s and 1970s whose sensibilities were shaped by rock and soul, but who were who drawn to jazz anyway. May it reach a similar audience now because the music needs an occasional reminder that "in the tradition" does not mean old-fashioned, or just the repertory presentation of museum pieces. Eastman may not be pursuing the sound of surprise, but it is the music of possibility.
Trust Me; St Marteen Swing; Native Son; Learn From Youir Mistakes; Just A Matter of Time; Distant Lover; Dance Once; Cuban Sunset