QOW Trio came about on the back of a single gig – to start with. The plan was for saxophonist Riley Stone-Lonergan and bassist Eddie Myer (who already work together in the quintet Finders Keepers) to pay tribute to Sonny Rollins and his chordless trio format by hooking up with legendary drummer Spike Wells.
There were other players that worked in the small combo – Ornette Coleman of course – but Rollins really pioneered the viability of the saxophone-led trio.
The gig went so well that QOW Trio became a thing and cut this debut, self-titled record. A scorcher. (Lonergan’s other current group, a quartet called Family Band is also chordless – so it’s obviously a thing for him).
There’s a warmth immediately here – the interplay is wonderful and dazzling, never daunting; they never crowd the tunes and they move beyond the Rollins worship to pay tribute also to Lester Young (Pound For Prez) – the version of God Bless The Child linked to the Prez too of course, given he was Billie Holiday’s right hand man.
Wells brings so much to this – his wealth of knowledge, his glide across the cymbals and his enthusiasm for finding new ways to solo. The opening take on A Slow Boat To China features his irrepressible ‘bounce’. It sets up much of the joy in this album and is backed up in turn by the rubbery sound that Myer gets from his upright acoustic bass.
Stone-Lonergan is an absolute beast of a player – but such class to his sound, a huge, bright tone and he’s as exquisite on the ballads (Serenity) as the good old fashioned blowing-session bop (Cheryl).
Cole Porter’s You Do Something To Me is a delightful closer – nine songs, 50 minutes. It just wizzes by. Feels like an instant classic. Reminds, straight away, of the great albums you know and love by the legends of jazz. This new intergenerational trio has such a command over these tunes, such a huge wealth of knowledge and experience – the passion and love for this craft so palpable. I hope it’s not long before they record again. I’ve listened to a lot of modern jazz that’s nearly this good. I’ve not heard anything that’s better.
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