4

Joshua Espinoza Trio: Journey Into Night

Dan McClenaghan By

Sign in to view read count
"Let's all get up,
And dance to a tune
That was a hit
Before your mother was born."


So said Paul McCartney, way back in another century, on the Beatles' Magical Mystery Tour (Capitol, 1968).

On his debut release, pianist Joshua Espinoza gets into that McCartney-esque frame of mind (sitting at the keyboard rather than dancing), opening with Burt Bacharach's classic "Always Something There to Remind Me," released as a single by Lou Johnson in 1963, and by Dionne Warwick in 1968—a hit, perhaps, before Espinoza's mother was born. Then he moves into John Lennon's "In My Life," from the Beatles' Rubber Soul (Capitol, 1965).

Starting out with familiar melodies is smart sequencing, especially with tunes as engaging as these. And even more so when the pianist and his trio mates are this facile. Espinoza has an elegant touch. Bassist Mikel Combs and drummer Jaron Lamar Davis roll in a mostly understated and supportive roll, with accenting moments of high energy. And, like Keith Jarrett's Standards Trio, they begin by playing the tune, then they are sort of not playing the tune—as they take the melodic ideas and run with them, improvising—and then come back to playing the tune again.

And they do this very well.

Off to a great and enticing start, the rest of the set does not disappoint. The pianist's original, "Streetlight Serenade" is full of shadows and restless beauty. "Nocturne For Anna Marie," another Espinoza original, sounds like a nineteenth century classical piece—a floating, timeless sound. Duke Ellington's "Take the "A" Train" opens bumping and rumbling down the track, then it swings, in the best Ellingtonian fashion. And the traditional "Shenandoah" (to go way back before any of our mothers were born) glows with solemnity, Espinoza playing it sparely, bass and drums laying down an understated orchestral backdrop.

"Desperado," a 1973 hit by the rock group the Eagles, closes things the way the trio opened. It is a reminder of just how sad and lovely the song is. Exquisitely done.

Track Listing: Always Something there To Remind Me; In My Life; Streetlight Serenade; Nocturne For Anna Marie; Take The A Train; Shenandoah; Unwelcome Dream; Birdsong; Desperado.

Personnel: Joshua Espinoza: piano; Mikel Combs: bass; Jaron Lamar Davis: drums.

Title: Journey Into Night | Year Released: 2019 | Record Label: Self Produced

Tags

Watch

comments powered by Disqus

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

Upcoming Shows

Date Detail Price
Jun20Thu
Joshua Espinoza Trio Cd Release
An Die Musik Live
Baltimore, MD
$10-20

Related Articles

Read Along for the Ride Album Reviews
Along for the Ride
By Jack Bowers
June 20, 2019
Read Ancestral Recall Album Reviews
Ancestral Recall
By Karl Ackermann
June 20, 2019
Read Eternal Youth Album Reviews
Eternal Youth
By Don Phipps
June 20, 2019
Read Curiouser and Curiouser Album Reviews
Curiouser and Curiouser
By Mike Jurkovic
June 20, 2019
Read Getz At The Gate Album Reviews
Getz At The Gate
By Chris May
June 19, 2019
Read Keep Talkin' Album Reviews
Keep Talkin'
By Dan McClenaghan
June 19, 2019
Read Night Owl Album Reviews
Night Owl
By Dan Bilawsky
June 19, 2019