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Travels by Big Swing Trio

As the name implies, The Big Swing Trio, promises to serve up the goods. Undulating rhythm, hi octane tempo and scorchin’ solos are but a few thoughts that come to mind. The trio hails from Colorado where the musicians have put together Travels, their first recording.

The trio has an adventurous list of selections; 12 in all-half of them penned by piano greats. It all starts with Cedar Walton’s catchy "John’s Blues" and moves along to groove and funk-inflected, "Those Pretty Eyes," by Horace Silver, to Freddie Redd’s bouncy and boppish, "Time To Smile," to the strange but beautiful angularity of Andrew Hill’s "Laverne" and Sonny Clark’s compelling "Voodoo." And, oh yes, not to forget the elegant chic and breezy, "Girl From Ipanema," by the debonair, Antonio Carlos Jobim. In other words, wow. They can pick but can they play?

The Big Trio reflects ".... a twenty year journey" of performing live, playing and recording. Travels is their first recording together. Generally, the time spent playing together reveals a tight-nit unit. Take "Those Pretty Eyes" and "Time To Smile," drummer, Paul Romaine keeps it all together with snappy time-keeping and nifty brush work while bassist, Mark Diamond, lays a confident pulse and nimble fret work. Pianist, Andy Weyl shows us his light and airy touch and catchy phrases as he comps on Miles Davis’ "Seven Steps To Heaven." It is clear that the Big Swing Trio has a perky bent. They give similar treatments to "John’s Blues" and "Laverne."

"Girl From Ipanema," perhaps the perfect vehicle for this trio, is every bit as sunny and suave as other numerous interpretations, albeit, the tempo is done in seven-four time giving this tune a slight tug and a welcome face-lift.

Weyl included four originals on this album. "Travels" quietly takes us on a pretty tour through picturesque landscapes. Weyl seems most comfortable at this relaxed tempo. It has the pace, posture and feel of the Vince Guaraldi trios. "Periwinkle" and "Dark" are both pensive and atmospheric. These originals balance the other tracks rather sunny visage.

The Big Swing Trio executes nice tunes. They are perky and lightly swinging, albeit, the tunes belong in those cafes and bistros where they are never raised beyond a serious pitch. It is polite, inoffensive and perky. The trio fails to break a sweat and never lights a fire. Fine if that is what the trio touts, but a little more axle grease couldn’t hurt. On the other hand, the originals are much more engaging and interesting. That being said, the Big Swing Trio is tight and tidy, with snappy tunes.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Big Swing Trio
  • CD Title: Travels
  • Genre: Straight-Ahead / Classic
  • Year Released: 2003
  • Record Label: Capri Records
  • Rating: Three Stars
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