|Photo: Josephine Zeitlin|
"Telepathy" (Sunnyside) is an apt title for their third album. Taken from sessions over a five-year period (pre-Pandemic), the 14-track, 76+ minute, program is an aural funhouse. Zeitlin, who continually upgrades his keyboard setup, blends his grand piano with numerous synths, hardware, and electronic keyboards –– meanwhile, Marsh plays his acoustic drum, adding percussion every now and then. There is no script, no sheet music, and, believe it or not, the vast majority of these tracks are first takes. For those of us who grew up in the 1960s and 70s, you can imagine Zeitlin sitting in the middle of the studio surrounded by his numerous "toys". He easily moves from one to another; listen to the joyful "Highlands", the track that opens the proceedings. It's a funky jig complete with acoustic piano, keyboard bass, various synths and dancing drums. Several minutes in, all but the drums drop out and Zeitlin begins what sounds like a guitar solo (no, it's a keyboard patch).
For more information, go to www.dennyzeitlin.com/. To hear more and purchase the album, go to https://dennyzeitlin.bandcamp.com/album/telepathy.
Fonda opens "Japan" with a long solo that gain blends lyrical and percussive with a hypnotic feel at times. Four+ minutes in, the pianist and drummer enter pushing the music into a Bill Evans-style atmosphere with a gentle stop & start in the rhythm; yet, notice how the music moves into a different area more related to the rhythmic pulses of the piece than an Evans improvisation. Rumbling piano and bluesy bass licks introduce "Dog With No Name", tune that moves from Gershwin-style flourishes to raucous blues to bass solos short and long. a swinging piano romp that gets a bit off-center by the powerful drumming. The one non-original is "I Love Music" composed in 1974 by Emil Boyd – it's a sweet solo piano piece that carrie a lot of emotion.
Hear the delight-filled opening track:
Fonda has performed and recorded with pianist Carlo Morena for over three decades producing four albums with either Jeff Hirschfield or George Schuller on drums. under the name Step In Trio (from a 2000 album of the same name). In March of 2019, Fonda and Morena came to Firehouse 12 in New Haven, CT, with drummer Felix Lecaros Herrera as the third member of the trio. The dChilean native also works with saxophonist Eden Bareket and has recorded with guitarist Nicolás Vera. The result of the New Haven gig is "Voila la Tendresse" (Not Two Records). The seven song, 70+ minute, program is filled with intuitive playing and intelligent interplay, emotional depth, and really fine compositions (all but one by the pianist). Because Morena and Fonda have such a long and rich history plus they entrust Herrera with being the foundation each song, this Trio sounds anything but "typical".
|Photo: Guido Nardi|
Step In – Carlo Morena, Joe Fonda, and Felix Lecaros Herrera – have produced an excellent alum in "Voila la Tendresse". The music engages the Trio which, in turn, captivates the audience. Powerful, lyrical, rhythmic, emotional music that deserves your close attention – highly recommended!
Give a listen to "Japan":