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Bridging the Gap by Eddie Metz Jr. Trio

In Bridging the Gap, drummer Eddie Metz Jr. builds a bridge from the comfort zone of some mainstream groups and their audiences to a recognition that beautiful melodies and well-crafted tunes did not end with those greats whose songs are included in the Great American Songbook. His musical partners are pianist Rosanno Sportiello and one of my favorite bassists, Nicki Parrott, and it's to his credit that your reaction won't be "Listen to that drummer! " but "What a rhythm section!" Just check out "NER Blues," their salute to Basie who always had the best.

Danny Gottlieb gives us a behind-the-scenes look at Metz's performance from a drummer's perspective in his incisive liner notes and Metz describes the influences which led him to this project. His father's record collection ranged from Satchmo to Sinatra. There were drummers from George Wettling to Buddy. And at six he heard the Beatles. He took up drums at nine and since then has practiced, played and appreciated good music without regard to category. He seems to have worked with everyone, including Basie, Woody, Chick Corea - and Disney World.

The trio's set includes a number of standards. "More Than You Know" is played at ballad tempo while "The More I See You," " I'm Old Fashioned," and "Falling in Love With Love" represent relaxed swing at its best. Trading fours as they go, they swing "Love" all the way to jazz waltz. With "Little Girl" and Sportiello's stride they remind us to never forget Ralph Sutton. Stevie Wonder's "Overjoyed" is just beautiful (both the tune and performance) and exemplifies why generational gaps should be bridged.

Guests Harry Allen and John Allred turn the group into a little big band. Allen's gentle tenor sound brings out the spiritual quality of Irving Berlin's "Count Your Blessings (Instead of Sheep)" while Gino Vannelli's " Crazy Life," a seventies hit, introduces Allred with his strong trombone solo. Paul Keller's light-hearted "Huggin' Higgins" salutes pianist Eddie Higgins, featuring Sportiello and spirited exchanges by the horns. John Katalenic's intricate arrangement of Steely Dan's "Bodhisattva" provides bridging opportunities for Metz and the band while Nicky Parrott's poignant voice brings a sense of loss to Bachrach's "One Less Bell to Answer" that singers often miss. The session ends with the ensemble and another rousing Katalenic arrangement - Eddie Metz Sr,'s "Gotta Get a Hold of Myself."

Listening to the Oscar Peterson and Vince Guaraldi Trios taught Metz the value of swinging hard while playing soft. It's not easy but that's what the Eddie Metz Jr. trio does, They prove that if the music is good, categories just don't matter.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Eddie Metz Jr. Trio
  • CD Title: Bridging the Gap
  • Genre: Straight-Ahead / Classic
  • Year Released: 2008
  • Record Label: Arbors
  • Tracks: Falling In Love With Love, Huggin´ Higgins, Overjoyed, I´m Old Fashioned, Count Your Blessings (Instead of Sheep), Bodhisattva, NER Blues, One Less Bell to Answer, The More I See You, Crazy Life, Little Girl, More Than You Know, Gotta Get a Hold of Myself.
  • Musicians: Eddie Metz Jr. (drums), Rossano Sportiello (piano), Nicki Parrott (bass, vocal). Special guests: Harry Allen (tenor sax), John Allred (trombone).
  • Rating: Five Stars
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