What is jazz music? Traditionally, it’s a collaborative effort of like-minded musicians who form compositions often off-the-cuff. Such is the case with the John A. Lewis Trio led by pianist John A. Lewis. Joining Lewis on his ninth recording One Trip Out is Lincoln Apeland on bass and Merik Gillett on drums. Collectively, the trio adheres to the ideals of improvising music in a collaborative manner.
The trio is a breed of jazz musicians who explore chord dynamics that produce aurally attractive aesthetics. The trio’s class of jazz embraces the traditional sounds set by such notable performers as Miles Davis, Wayne Shorter, Dave Brubeck, and Thelonious Monk. Their audience is the nightlife society who frequent piano barrooms, sidewalk bistros, and cafés. Single-minded in their endeavor to create music that is designed to entertain, the trio live up to the standards of the traditional jazz presario.
“Let’s Face It” launches the recording into an upbeat mood with frolicking keys and softly splashing drumbeats. The trio picks up the tempo a few notches in the title track as Lewis’s keys roam freely with the enthusiasm of a child enthralled by uncharted terrain. The trio establishes a rhythm that’s in sync with their audience’s desire to be enclosed in a cheerful atmosphere. Playing to their audience, “A Faustian Occurrence” binds improvised portions with recurring motifs, all imbued with lively dynamics. The collaborative interaction makes for happy music which entices the audience to follow along with the trio.
The recording slows the tempo to a leisurely pace in “The Grifter” fostering a mood which encourages the listener to observe and notice the subtle nuances of the furling keys. Gillett’s drums indulge in a wild frenzy along “Spang” that catches the listener’s attention. The nimble movements of Lewis’s keys and Apeland’s bass in “Sixty Miles Short” calls attention to their symbiotic instincts and sharp rapport, which simmers to a series of sleekly tailored flares along “Three Shades.”
The trotting pace of “Def Blue” is trussed up in traditional jazz sounding trimmings and the languid swells of “Nice” inject a somnolent mood into the album. The trio energizes the tempo in “Sly Steps” as the keys and drums infuse a bouncy rhythm in the track. The recording closes with the bowing arcs of the bass in “A Sisyphean Endeavor” mapping out chord patterns that are purely imaginative and a creation of Apeland’s own doing.
One Trip Out is a unique collaboration of like-minded musicians who each march to the beat of their own rhythm, and yet, the trio remains in sync at all times. The music is designed to entertain audiences and entice them to go along with the procession of happy music.
John A. Lewis – piano, Lincoln Apeland – bass, and Merik Gillett – drums
Let’s Face It, One Trip Out, A Faustian Occurrence, The Grifter, Spang, Sixty Miles Short, Three Shades, Def Blue, Nice, Sly Steps, A Sisyphean Endeavor