Firebell: Impossible Vacation

Jeffrey Uhrich BY

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Firebell: Impossible Vacation

With their impressive debut release, Impossible Vacation, Firebell establishes itself not only as a stellar post-bop modern electric guitar/bass/drum jazz trio, but also as a unified and innovative band , drawing upon the wealth of experience and musical sensibility of its three members. Firebell consists of three veteran musicians that have been playing together and creating music since 2009: Park Evans on electric guitar, Graydon Peterson on bass, and Jay Epstein on drums. All three musicians have earned solid reputations in their own right, with extensive experience as side-musicians as well as recording artists. Their years of playing live together has resulted in this adventuresome disc, consisting of nine unique tracks allowing each artist to room to creatively improvise while maintaining the integrity and unique essence of each piece.

This disc demands repeated plays, and each listening experience reveals deeper levels of interplay and nuance in each piece. The disc opens with "Ocean Depth," and the listener is quickly drawn into a gentle subtle rhythmic sway, with Epstein's deceptively understated drums standing out as a key protagonist to his equal counterparts. The second track "Ithaca," as with all other tracks on this disc, reveals Epstein channeling the percussive ingenuity of Jack DeJohnette, interacting with Peterson's inventive bass lines and the refreshingly tasteful guitar playing of Evans. Evans, an accomplished guitarist, resists temptations to dominate the piece with extended solos or other guitar "flash." Rather, he draws upon his classical background to create a series of intriguing chord progressions, creating a variety of moods that perfectly complement the arrangement. The title track also stands out as an impressive display by each musician, each displaying command and prowess of their respective instruments without losing the integrity of the piece.

In "When Dinosaurs Make The Rules" and "Demonizing Santiago" highlight the melodic sensibility of Evans interacting with the percussive inventiveness of Epstein, yet Peterson shines with his counterpoint melodies and rhythmic acumen, maintaining a cohesive constancy and tastefully drives the shifting moods within each piece as his band mates innovate and push outward . Fans of John Scofield will enjoy the contemplative technique that Evans brings to the table in these pieces and throughout the disc.

As the individual careers of Epstein, Peterson and Evans continue to rise, one hopes that they will continue to play together and create new material in the future of an equal caliber as Impossible Vacation .

Track Listing

Ocean Depth; Ithaca; Somewhere Parade; Impossible Vacation; Beyond The Sea; Runaway; When Dinosaurs make The Rules; Demonizing Santiago; Much Needed Wanderlust.


Park Evans: guitar; Graydon Peterson: bass; Jay Epstein: drums.

Album information

Title: Impossible Vacation | Year Released: 2015 | Record Label: Shifting Paradigm Records

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