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Drums ! Bass! Guitar! by Ben Hans Trio

Drums! Bass! Guitar!--this outing from the Ben Hans Trio is nothing if not concisely titled. That's appropriate, since the group takes a no-nonsense approach to the albums ten tracks. Four are standards, four come from drummer Hans, while guitarist Jeff Schroedl & bassist Mark Solveson contribute one composition each.

Hans is the leader of the date, and I suppose that's why his instrument comes first in the title. That said, Schroedl is the standout player here. His clean, straightforward playing is consistently assured and interesting. He seems influenced by players like Kenny Burrell and Wes Montgomery, showing a lot of restraint in his playing and has a warm tone that maybe needs a bit more tweaking before it'll be just right. He puts out some very nice Wes-isms on "Dear Old Stockholm" and "It's Easy To Remember," and his chording on the group's bossa-tinged reading of "Naima" is the thing that really makes it work.

I'm somewhat less impressed with the balance of the group. They are steady enough, but at times a bit leaden. And they, especially Solveson, are mic'd too high. Solveson turns in a nice solo on his "Light Sleeper," and his turn on "It's Easy To Remember" is well thought-out but turns to mud before all is said and done. Ben's showcase piece "Ben's Hands" is not bad, just not especially inspiring.

Drums! Bass! Guitar! is a solid, if unspectacular collection. I really like guitarist Jeff Schroedl, and his bandmates Ben Hans and Mark Solveson are competent. The group plays it pretty straight with standards, and shows a slightly more contemporary bent with their own compositions. The Trio delivers on the title's promise, and that's saying something.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Ben Hans Trio
  • CD Title: Drums ! Bass! Guitar!
  • Genre: Straight-Ahead / Classic
  • Year Released: 2004
  • Record Label: Coffee Road Records
  • Rating: Three Stars
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