Acid Cabaret, the debut CD by the Ed Alstrom Trio is suitably named because just like a cabaret, the group's eclectic "Let Me Entertain You" style, has influences from Broadway, blues, R&B, standards, classic rock, jazz, opera, and cabaret. Ed Alstrom's lyrics about relationships have a quirky acerbic wit that makes them cynical, but whimsically amusing. For example, two of the titles he penned, Stupid Day and Trapped In A Good Marriage tell ironic stories that an audience can relate to. Alstrom, ably accompanied by Jeff Ganz on Bass and Don Guinta on Drums, gives the standards on the CD a wistful, lonely feeling reminiscent of Billy Joel. The three have a good chemistry and encourage each other in musical growth and the creative energy they put into their music. Some of my favorites are Theme From An Imaginary Western, This Was Nearly Mine, Still Of The Night and On The Street Where You Live. There is gorgeous piano on Somewhere In America and Falling Leaves and the bluesy My Tight Woman is hilarious.
Alstrom, claims the group tries to "play as diverse an assortment of style as they can get away with, yet have it all coalesce into a unified whole. He says he looks for material that has some lyrical depth and obliqueness to it, and presents it musically with some drive, uniqueness and proficiency.
Ed Alstrom grew up in Northern New Jersey. Started playing organ at age 5, guitar and bass as a teenager. In high school, he performed in rock bands, studied church organ and dabbled in many kinds of music. He received a B. A. in Organ performance from Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ. Alstrom has performed with Bette Midler, Chuck Berry, Leonard Bernstein, Herbie Hancock, Eddie Fisher, Dion, Larry Coryell, Lou Rawls, Zubin Mehta, Donald Fagan, Uncle Floyd, Al Kooper, Stanley Jordan, and many other notables. He is currently the Musical Director for Darlene Love. His Broadway experience includes "Leader Of The Pack (The Ellie Greenwich Musical)" and "Smokey Joe's Cafe."
All said, this CD is very suitably named the versatility, talent and showmanship make it full surprises. All the tunes are about love, and relationships, some nostalgic, some cynical, some yearning and sentimental. If you're looking for music for you whole brain, this CD has story like lyrics and good music too!