Every once in a while, a studio recording depicts the spirit and sensitivity of a live club date. Stream
, the self-titled release by the trio consisting of pianist Yago Vazquez
, bassist Scott Lee
, and drummer Jeff Hirshfield
, does just that. They perform the repertoire as they have done in the countless clubs where they have taken their music. Self-produced with a light hand, letting themselves do what they do best, this is an aural exhibition of original compositions implemented with singular eloquence.
Commencing with the title track, with its curt tempo, the trio establish the mood and direction on each piece. Scott Lee, with his thoughtful bass lines, defines the ballads "On Your Own," and "Nocturno," where he ventures into thoughtful solos vividly carried along by his associates. He displays mastery of bow technique on the baroque blues "Blue Country" and the syncopated "Times Square," though different time signatures, the songs congeal with ease, and show the variety in the mix. Lee composed half of the tunes on the record, and his cohesive musical contribution is immense.
Yago Vazquez brings an interesting back story to this lineup. Hailing from Galicia in Spain, he is classically trained, and came to New York City to immerse himself in straight ahead jazz, as only the environs of the city can offer. His piano work on songs as "Same but Different," and "Brake Tune," indicate immersions into be-bop, while "Miniatura," harkens back to his romantic Spanish heritage. This just touches upon his unique proficiencies, and his prodigiousness is quite noticeable.
With their exuberant interaction and as talented and versatile as Lee and Vazquez are, it is the astute drumming of Jeff Hirshfield that rounds out this superb trio. A sincere veteran of numerous jazz recordings and thousands of gigs, his innate and polished sense of timing is worthy of acccolades. He complies with his role as timekeeper, with no need for flash or gratuitous soloing, and is that rare drummer who is an integral member of the ensemble, all for the sake of the song.
The jazz trio dominated by a pianist has traditionally been one of the most popular formulations in the genre, with high standards set by iconic figures as Bill Evans
and Oscar Peterson
, to name two luminous examples. What sets Stream
apart, is the balance and respect within the three members, as they are all leaders, yet there is no leader, for they are one voice. Granted, this is their first production, but they have established themselves in this small but exclusive segment of jazzthe triowith authority and exemplary musicianship.
Stream; On Your Own; F World; Nocturne; 456; Blue Country; Same But
Different; Miniatura; New Old; Times Square; Missing One; Brake Tune;
NoWhere; The Cloisters.
Yago Vazquez: piano; Scott Lee: bass; Jeff Hirshfield: drums.