Affinity Trio




iTunes - $9.99

MUSIC REVIEW BY Ed Sapiega, Jazz Views (UK)


This jazz trio is simply amazing, with a unique combination of instruments - trumpet, piano, and bass. Interestingly, I don't even miss the drums. The three musicians mesh very well with each other as a creative music organism. I kept thinking they were amoeba-like, conforming to each artist's individual sound space. This trio played weekly gigs for a year plus before recording this self-produced debut album in a single day. Their collective spontaneity and creative sound-making usually result from working together for a long time.

This album provides hints about the broad range of music that the group has developed. It consists of four original compositions by the band members, with two by York and one each by Jacobson and Schaub. In addition, it includes six lesser-known standards, including two Charlie Parker tunes.

The opening song, "Open Windows," reminds me of just that: hearing sounds or music drifting through a window or door left open to the neighborhood. This medium-tempo song introduces the band as a whole and then individually through their respective solos. The trumpeter, Jacobson, plays various phrases reflecting the song's main body during his solo time. He clearly has a well-defined style that is not derivative of anyone, which I can tell.

"Theme for Ernie" was written by guitarist Fred Lacey as a ballad dedicated to alto saxophonist Ernie Henry. It was made famous by John Coltrane. The group's rendition is stately and played slowly; the group unwinds the song's melodic core in preparation for the solo sections.

"The End of a Love Affair" cooks at a faster tempo than how it is usually done. The band sounds like they are having fun racing through this song. The trumpet notes are silkier as he unfurls a solo with measure after measure of variations. The pianist runs circles around the melody of the song, placing small bits of improvisation into the melody, and then returns to the tune as if nothing happened. Go forth and seek out this song.

On "Bongo Beep," a Charlie Parker tune, Jacobson plays the changes that Parker would play but with a significantly different effect on a trumpet rather than a sax. The trumpeter sounds like he is from the Bebop era, but he uses that as his point of departure. Bassist Schaub re-arranged the song and takes a solo as he subtly vocalizes behind it. The pianist rolls in and plays a very funky, enlightened piano. She unfurls these phrases as the bassist drives beneath her.

"Parisian Poet" is an upbeat tune by York with elegant piano that remains intriguing throughout the song. The pianist and bassist demonstrate their rapport as they play through a duet. When the trumpeter joins in, all three musicians push the song forward relaxedly.

"Segment," another piece by Charlie Parker, begins with the trio playing the melody in a familiar way. Then, it transitions into a piano solo that experiments with the notes of the song. The bassist adds the essential element of keeping the music grounded. Finally, the trumpeter takes off above the other two musicians, adding a soaring quality to the performance.

I have returned to this album repeatedly for its creative trio makeup, excellent arrangements, and well-penned originals. The musicians have developed their unique sound by playing live, and we are fortunate that they recorded it. I recommend this CD wholeheartedly.





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