Bob Washut is a musical product of Northern Iowa University and has taken upon himself to gather together two close friends to do a piano trio CD. Of the eleven tunes, seven are Washut compositions. All the tunes are musical expressions of Washut's admiration for a specific individual. Some of them are well-known jazz musicians, like Lee Konitz and Rufus Reid. One is to his bassist, Mark Urness. (Mr. Urness, by the way, has performed with another native Iowan jazz player of note, Dick Sturman). The remaining honorees are individuals who had a positive effect on Mr. Washut at some point during his life. The other songs are by composers who Washut admires and respects; ergo we have compositions by Alan Broadbent, Andy Razaf (in collaboration with others) and Duke Ellington, not a bad trio themselves. The final piece on this album is by bassist, Mark Urness.
Most of the Washut compositions are introspective and tend to be melancholy. But there's some break in the mood with a brighter number thrown in, like "Especial-Lee," from time to time. Washburn's melodies remind me of the music favored by George Winton on his early Windham Hill outings. If you are in the old Windham Hill style, you'll go for Washburn's. His interpretations of the two chestnuts on the album "Stompin' At the Savoy" and "Caravan" displays his ability to take an oft-played standard and give it a different but credible read. "Stompin'..." is done with a quirky meter pattern, up tempo, but not the swing rhythm usually associated with the performance of this tune. The tune showcases Kevin Hart's percussive skills. His drum solo is not built on loud, gaudy pyrotechnics, but upon an understated well constructed set of rhythmic patterns, consistent with the relaxed mood established for this set. "Caravan" is done with a Latin beat and showcases Washut's technical command of the keyboard. Urness on bass and Hart again on drums, get a good workout on this almost six minute up tempo reading of the Ellington/Tizol masterpiece. The only avant gardish sounding piece on the set is "Sphere's Mirror" which is done in honor of drummer Matt Wilson.
Songbook is like many other CDs, pleasing music performed by talented musicians, but one that does not compel you to pull it off the shelf very often.
Track Listing: Waiting for Charlie; Iowa Autumn; Basso Urnessto; Mrs. B; Stompin' at the Savoy; Fairy Tale; Caravan; Sphere's Mirror; The Sage; Especial-Lee;8:00 Bean
Personnel: Bob Washut - piano; Mark Urness - bass; Kevin Hart - drums
I was first exposed to jazz circa 1973, when I met a fellow who ran Kappy's Record Store over near 10th Ave., on 42nd St. in NYC. We really clicked and when I told him I played piano and went to Music & Art HS, and had just started at City College of NY as a music major, he asked if I liked jazz...I said yes but I didn't know much about it, but that I did have sheet music for many popular 1920's through 1940's tunes by noted composers (Porter; Gershwins; Irving Berlin; Rodgers & Hammerstein/Hart; Jerome Kern; Lerner & Loewe; etc.) that my mother had sung beautifully starting in the 1940's including tons of famous show tunes, and I played many of those songs already
I was first exposed to jazz circa 1973, when I met a fellow who ran Kappy's Record Store over near 10th Ave., on 42nd St. in NYC. We really clicked and when I told him I played piano and went to Music & Art HS, and had just started at City College of NY as a music major, he asked if I liked jazz...I said yes but I didn't know much about it, but that I did have sheet music for many popular 1920's through 1940's tunes by noted composers (Porter; Gershwins; Irving Berlin; Rodgers & Hammerstein/Hart; Jerome Kern; Lerner & Loewe; etc.) that my mother had sung beautifully starting in the 1940's including tons of famous show tunes, and I played many of those songs already. SOOOO... he started me off LP's by Oscar Peterson, Art Tatum, Bud Powell, Errol Garner, Bill Evans, Monty Alexander, Charlie Byrd, and Dave Brubeck... does it get any better than that? ...No, it doesn't. I was hooked!!
I met and had a master class with the late music giant John Lewis, leader of the Modern Jazz Quartet! This was at CCNY in 1977. I was blessed! It was an incredible class... how could it have been anything else?!?!
The first jazz record I bought was...I bought numerous records from my friend at the record store, as mentioned above. He introduced me to nothing but music giants/legends! I think The Dave Brubeck Quartet, Greatest Hits, was actually the first one.
My advice to new listeners... study first--understand the rudiments--solfeggio, keys, scales, and basic chords. Read a book or take a class that includes the study of chord progressions, especially in jazz. It should ideally be a piano class so you can play multiple notes together. Have a good EAR or else it's not really worth it in my view...to become a musician, a good EAR for music is about as fundamental as breathing! Learn to read chord charts--i.e., lead sheets - wherein you play various voicings of the chords--major, minor, dominant 7th (alterations of these, you can learn over time - the basic chords are most important for starters), plus the melody, on the piano or keyboard. If you have to read the exact notes, then it's not the same as actually internalizing it & getting it all into your head. If you can do this, I think you're ready not only for listening to jazz, but understanding many concepts of it! Of course...anyone can listen to jazz... but I think it's so good to also have a grasp of it.