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Perhaps the post beautiful thing about Live in Detroit: Global Jazz Trio at Baker's Keyboard Lounge is that the Global Jazz Trio does not sport keyboards, it is a Sonny Rollins-style saxophone trio, circa 1958, except for the pronounced reverb and echo on Mark Hershberger's saxophones and the Richard Smith's electric bass rather than the acoustic double bass. The Global Jazz Trio's performance has much in common with Toph-E and the Pussycats' Live in Detroit (M'Bubba Musc, 2006). Both bands are about performance, using vehicles that are guaranteed to attract audience attention. The Global Jazz Trio's repertoire just happens to be more solidly jazz-oriented, addressing several different genres.
Hershberger begins the disc with those familiar Sonny Rollins notes from "St. Thomas. The introduction is loose as is the entry of the rhythm section. Hershberger is an energetic soloist, bright with ideas. Hershberger takes the same approach with "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy. Save for the familiar verse and bridge, the song is a study in improvisation much in the same way Sonny Rollins' "Blue 7 was at the time of Saxophone Colossus (Fantasy, 1956). It is funky improvisation that sublimes into pure and powerful improv with John Coltrane's "Impressions. Drummer Muruga Booker introduces the famous piece with an extended polyrhythmic solo that starts a slow burn over which Hershberger blows that simple, plaintive line. The spirit of Elvin Jones is apparent.
The group takes a right-turn into pop territory with Norah Jones' "Come Away with Me. The band produces a classic jazz ballad out of the tune, Hershberger presenting the tune in the lower- to mid-registers. This is the calm before the storm of exploratory jazz to finish the disc. Live in Detroit: Global Jazz Trio at Baker's Keyboard Lounge is jazz to enjoy on a level deeper than that of the typical live set variety. This disc is a fine and unique release.
Track Listing: St. Thomas; Mercy, Mercy, Mercy; Impressions; Come Away with Me; Global Jazz for Peace; Cabalaís Wish; Amazing Grace; Three Motifs in Jazz.
Personnel: Mark Hershberger: saxophones; Muruga Booker: drums and percussion; Richard Smith: bass.