Bradford Truby Trio
June 05, 2005
For the moment at least, the Bradford Truby Trio must undergo comparisons to NYC piano trio The Bad Plus. That's not such a bad thing, considering The Bad Plus made waves recently by successfully converting rock songs into jazz form.
The Bradford Truby Trio did the same at The Circle Bar Sunday night. Radiohead's "Paranoid Android." A medley of Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" and Black Sabbath's "Ironman." Their best and most ingenious pick for a cover was Billy Idol's "White Wedding."
It had an immediately recognizable melody. As The Bad Plus has said, it's not easy finding rock songs that translate easily into the jazz form. Despite the '80's pop stigma that was attached to "White Wedding," you still know it when you hear it.
Without the covers the local jazz piano trio still does pretty well playing Hard Swing songs. They had a few originals, but they also performed two Thelonious Monk tunes and John Coltrane's "My Favorite Things." They spiced things up by throwing in an occassional brushed jazz ballad. They also rocked a groove once or twice. It's pretty hard to slow these guys down. Even though their slow-swinging ballad was light-handed, it had swagger and enough notes to keep interest. The Gershin sound of Chris Marceill's piano was enjoyable by association.
Since they were a trio, so much of what they did was based on rhythm. It was fun watching drummer Bryan Besse and Marceill feed off of and challenge one another. Besse and Truby, who was on the upright bass, also tried to lead one another into unchartered places.
The end of one song was particularly impressive. They kept pushing the tempo and figuring out new ways to get louder by using accents intelligently. They reached a frenzied pace, and it seemed like everyone was playing as fast as they could. Truby might have been playing three or four notes a second. During the large amount of applause given by the twenty audience members, Truby guzzled down the rest of his beer. It was hot. Sweat, humidity, and passing streetcars.
The trio kept their songs shorter than most jazz groups. Solos came and went, but they were rare. The young band had a sense of humor, which was nice. Truby said, "That was by the great jazz legend Billy Idol." They joked with each other and the crowd. The room was so silent in between songs that it was comical. At least everyone was paying attention. Was it too much attention? Besse covered his face, as if to say, "I'm just the drummer. Why are you looking at me?"
The Bradford Truby Trio has talent and a curiosity for fusing. This is why they're an exciting find.