Notes from the Netherlands

Notes from the Netherlands

Lex Jasper Trio

Label: Challenge Records
Format: CD
Barcode: 0608917349825
Catalog number: CR 73498
Releasedate: 01-11-19
- Challenge Records is proud to release the new album by piano veteran Lex Jasper
- A nice combination of standards – by  George Gershwin, Billy Strayhorn and Jimmy McHugh, among others - and original material written by Lex Jasper
- The combination of piano, bass and guitar works amazing, the absence of a drummer is a strength, not a weakness 
This instrumentation has long been a favorite in a trio setting. Being a jazz drummer, I never quite understood this! Seriously, these three gentlemen exhibit exactly why. This recording includes the important features required to make this piano, bass, guitar combination operate as smoothly as it should. They are all accomplished musicians who listen to each other, play to make each other sound as good as possible, they are sensitive to each other’s’ dynamic and intensity ranges, and you hear the joy they have while playing this music.
Compatibility is crucial in any group. If it isn’t there, the listener will detect that something isn’t quite right, perhaps not being able to recognize the problem. This trio’s compatibility is exhibited by their time feel, harmonic and rhythmic agreement and overall simpatico.
On the beautiful ballad, Letter to Alissa, you’ll enjoy the trio’s sensitivity which allows the melody and solo ideas to breathe. When the musicians do this, it offers that same relaxation to us, the listeners. While in this relaxed state of mind, their gentle boss nova feel keeps us “there”, as well as with Song for Emil. Lex Jasper’s compositions blend so well with the other selections, you find yourself thinking that they just might be standards that haven’t yet been heard.
My dear friend, boss and rhythm section partner, Ray Brown, had this to say. “If you’re going to play someone else’s material, make sure you put a new dress on it.” Willow Weep for Me and Take the A Train, for instance, will provide new additions to your wardrobe! Lastly, just to make sure they have our attention, you’ll appreciate the harmonic surprises they throw at us in I Should Care.
Whether this trio plays a medium tempo swing, gentle bossa nova or peaceful ballads, you get the feeling that they “own” every groove they play. Sit back, relax and experience this trio’s offering to us.
Jeff Hamilton