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The KUH Trio: Old Souls

Jack Bowers By

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The KUH Trio: Old Souls
Here is yet another European trio whose name is an acronym, in this case, K for guitarist Edi Köhldorfer, U for bassist Frantisek Uhlir, H for drummer Jaromír Helešic, who when numbered together (or even singly) are Old Souls. Uhlir (70) and Helesic (73) are Czechs, while Kohldorfer (age unknown but has been around the block more than once) is Austrian. Their initial recording as a group consists of ten original compositions, five each by Kohldorfer and Uhlir.

Pleasing though they are, the various melodies serve for the most part as launching points for splendid solos, generally by Kohldorfer or Uhlir, while Helesic keeps them on their toes with superlative timekeeping and perceptive brush work. Helesic does weigh in with some impressive four-bar licks on Uhlir's breezy "You Are Never at Home" and upbeat "Jaro." For variety, the trio alter the moods from light to dark, tempos from rapid to unhurried with engaging rhythms therein. Along the way, they prove time and again that while they may be old souls, they are hardly over the hill. If experience truly is the best teacher, Kohldorfer, Uhlir and Helesic are in line for post-graduate degrees, each one having played and/or recorded with a who's who of celebrated musicians from Europe and around the world.

The opening number, Uhlir's sunny "Just for Us," quickly removes any doubts about their proficiency, as he and Kohldorfer solo with the energy and assurance of players half their age while Helesic does not miss a beat. Kohldorfer's tender ballad, "Mainart," is followed by another swinger, his "O Samba Boemio" (enclosing Uhlir's nimble arco solo), and the shuffling "Old Souls," on which Kohldorfer uses a number of special effects to accentuate the melancholy theme. Uhlir also wrote "Maybe Later," "From Heart to Heart, "You Are Never at Home" and the irrepressible finale, "Jaro" (with more superb brush work by Helesic), Kohldorfer the slightly off-kilter "KUH Monk" and folk-like "Game III."

Old Souls is a first-rate session by a trio of seasoned pros whose souls may be old but whose admirable taste and musical command are as sharp as ever.

Track Listing

Just for Us; Mainart; O Samba Boemio; Old Souls; You Are Never at Home; Maybe Later; KUH Monk; From Heart to Heart; Game III; Jaro.

Personnel

Edi Köhldorfer: guitar; Frantisek Uhlir: bass; Jaromír Helešic: drums.

Album information

Title: Old Souls | Year Released: 2021 | Record Label: ATS Records

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