All posts by Erik Troe


So, had I before seen a performance like the one presented by Tom Gershwin, Eric Erhardt, and Jean-Luc Davis at York Street Jazz on August 30th? I’m going to venture that I hadn’t, nor had anyone else present – provided there wasn’t an old regular from some of New York’s more avant-garde clubs in attendance…
The term “Jazz Trio” will in nearly every mind conjure a piano-bass-drums configuration a la Bill Evans, Ahmad Jamal, or maybe Brad Mehldau or the Bad Plus. Some might envision an organ-drums-and either guitar or sax ensemble, like those of Jimmy Smith. Among the more modern-minded, a few may recall Sonny Rollins’ Freedom Suite trio of tenor sax, bass and drums – but trumpet, reeds and bass? That one’s kind of strange: Intriguing, but admittedly pretty strange. If I hadn’t received an advance program for the evening, I’d have thought – as the other concertgoers must have – that the drummer must be somewhere stuck in traffic! In terms of this unusual instrumentation, the closest historical organization to which I could point as precedence might be the Jimmy Giuffre Three of 1958, which numbered Giuffre himself on clarinet and saxophones, valve trombonist Bob Brookmeyer and Jim Hall on guitar – but even Giuffre in this group and other permutations of the Three relied upon a chordal instrument for harmonic support, whether Hall’s guitar or Paul Bley’s piano in later configurations. These three contemporary players: trumpeter Tom Gershwin, saxophonist/clarinetist Eric Erhardt and bassist Jean-Luc Davis were pretty much butt-naked musically speaking and exposed to every conceivable element, whether withering icy glares or gale-force yawns from the forty-something strong audience. But they wound up not needing to worry about such things – the boys dug down deep and came up each with fistfuls of buried jewelry. Continue reading