Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Trio: Live at Charlie O's

Fuzzy Music
By Ric Bang • Originally published in The Davis Enterprise, 5.6.10
Buy CD: Live at Charlie O's

The Trio consists of bassist Chuck Berghofer, pianist Terry Trotter and drummer Peter Erskine; Charlie O's is a jazz club in Valley Glenn, Calif.; and this is one of the best small groups I've heard in ages.

There are musicians, professional musicians and just a very few true musicians like these three individuals, who posses a combined century's worth of experience. A list of the bands and artists they've worked with would fill an entire page, but the key element is that each has performed extensively in back-up groups for vocal icons (Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Mel Torme) and top-ranked bands and instrumentalists (Diana Krall, Stan Kenton, Shelley Manne).

After Berghofer, Trotter and Erskine decided that their touring days were over, they settled into teaching and studio work. For kicks, they play together at clubs such as Charlie O's.

Which is great for the rest of us.

This album is a collection of originals and some of the best standards ever written. When did you last hear “Put Your Little Foot Right Out”? Well, here it is, in a jazz idiom. Two beautiful classics — “Ghost of a Chance” and “How Deep Is the Ocean” — also are present, along with the lesser-known “Afternoon In Paris.”

This isn't background music; it'll grab you by the throat and keep you riveted to the performers. Although Trotter's piano carries the responsibility for the melodic lines and much of the solo work, boredom never sets in. Berghofer's bass is elegant, and Erskine is one of the tastiest drummers working.

Since receiving this album, not a day has passed that I haven't played it. This Trio is mesmerizing.

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