Niall O’Neill tells on his band’s myspace site (www.myspace.com/reversetrust) that his self-released debut album As If has been on the backburner for the last 20 years. The Dublin, Ireland based Reverse Trust is the music project of bass player Niall O’Neill who recruited guitarists Mike Nielsen and Dick Farrelly, drummer Tom McDermott, trumpeter Gavin Butler, tenor/soprano saxophonist Brendan Doyle, and tenor saxophonist/keyboardist Derek O’Connor. The culmination of these seven musicians resulted in an album that twills elements of swing, hard-bop, and crossover jazz into multiple angles, crossbreeds, and patterns possessing the easy listening spree and adult contemporary harmonies reminiscent of Chuck Mangione, The Rippingtons, and Spyro Gyra. Reverse Trust’s cornucopia of stellar Wurlitzer and piano vamps by O’Connor, crisp cymbal strikes by McDermott, and opulent horn euphonies of Butler and Doyle are perfectly shaped and banded into the melodies as O’Neill buffers the spools with amenable bass hooks.
The upbeat horns on "Fill Me Up" are roped into the dancing synth notes and crystal clear drum rolls as the charismatic piano rambles add a jolly countenance to the tune. The song has a hard-bop groove and melodic rapport similar to Art Blakey, J.J. Johnson, and Kenny Dorham. The smooth jazz guitar riffs and tight drum loops on "Frog City" have a soft swing tempo with a semblance to jazz masters like Benny Carter and Coleman Hawkins. The supple horns and lithesome rhythmic movements are plush and majestically loomed. The drum and guitar solos are splendidly hewn. The track "Reverse Trust" has a modish ‘70s style crossover jazz likeness to compositions by Chuck Mangione and the theme songs for TV shows like "The Mod Squad" and "Charlie’s Angels." The quick tempo and raveling chord progressions draw in an intensity that is emblematic of action and intrigue. The music has a familiar nostalgia and yet it has a contemporary sound that gives it a modern day relevance.
Off setting the modish jazz style of "Reverse Trust" is the easy breezy melody "Maybe" laden with willowy guitar slants, softly brushed drum strokes, and whispering horns coasting along the rhythmic bass knolls. The saxophone ovals and guitar orbs on "Birds Of A Feather" have an adult contemporary breadth while the light funk conditioning on the guitar glazes and saxophone embellishments on "As If" have a peppy step as they glide across the cheerful rhythms. "Redundant" shines with a hard-bop prowess as the dainty cymbal strikes peek through the interlocking horns and piano keys. The soft tempo of "If You Should" creates an intimate setting with relaxing guitar pizzicatos and airy horn atmospheres. The final track "Exit Strategy" is an uptempo number with exciting horns and keyboards that conclude the album with lively interlacing instrument bars and perky rhythmic movements comparable to the sprightly grooves of The Yellowjackets, Eddie Davis, and Earl Klugh.
Reverse Trust’s debut album As If is an aggregate of nostalgia and contemporary demographics. The songs have a diligence and proficiency parallel to Chuck Mangione and the crossover jazz aspects of Spyro Gyra and The Yellowjackets. It is an excellent debut album that has the potential to build a fanbase truly enamored with Reverse Trust’s music. It took O’Neill 20 years to bring this album to the public but hopefully it won’t take another 20 years to make the band’s follow up album. There is too much talent in Reverse Trust to be sitting on the backburner like that.