Smooth can be charming. Mellow likewise. And the same can be said for easygoing. On Honestly, guitarist Will St Peter's trio presents an hour of smooth, mellow, easygoing jazz that is both charming and tasteful. There are few fireworks here, simply three accomplished musicians calmly yet firmly expressing their collaborative point of view.
While St Peter (he uses no punctuation after "St") sets the melodic tone, he leans heavily on bassist Steven Heffner and drummer Steve Barnes for rhythmic support; they are broad-shouldered in that essential role and always ready when needed. Heffner solos often, and holds his ground there, as does Barnes whenever called upon. As for St Peter, he is generally low- key but able to generate ample heat when the occasion demands, as on the standard "Tangerine" or his own "Authenticity."
"Authenticity" is one of three original compositions by St Peter (the others are "Driftwood" and "Windsor"). "Tangerine" is among a trio of standards, allied with "Days of Wine and Roses" and "I'll Be Seeing You," while Alec Wilder's frosty "Blackberry Winter" is from the American songbook but is not heard often enough to warrant the name "standard." Completing the program are Steve Swallow's "Falling Grace" and Ornette Coleman's "Turnaround." The trio handles each one with care, skating gently through the changes while preserving their allure.
Some guitar trios seek to make their mark through sheer stridency and volume; others, such as this one, prefer to entice the ear with fluency and discretion. The perceptive listeners will readily decide which one suits their preference.
Days of Wine and Roses; Driftwood; I'll Be Seeing You; Windsor; Blackberry Winter; Falling Grace;
Authenticity; Tangerine; Turnaround.