Saturday, January 31, 2015


For a good cure of the winter blues, I decided to spend a nice cozy evening listening to some jazz from current University of Toronto music students.   

The trio, consisting of vocalist Ariel Shetzen, pianist Jacob Thompson, and bassist Chris Brinton, performed an excellent program of standards that show diversity, range, uniqueness and class from start to finish.

The trio digs right away with a rousing blues called “Centerpiece”, where from the get go the trio is locked into a heavy groove and all of the musicians are having a great time with the source material.   Ariel’s performance echoes soulfulness and creativity through her diction, delivery, and scatting; Jacob’s performance was thundering and full of wonder (even adding grunts a la Oscar Peterson and Keith Jarrett to really dig and feel the music); Chris’ timekeeping is impeccable plus a tasty bass solo to top things off.

The standard “Day by Day” swings easily and blithely without stopping or letting go of emotion; the ballad feature “Dreamsville” is performed just how the title suggests: dream-like and treating the performance like an expressive story.  The ballad medley has taken three of the most beloved ballad melodies (“My Foolish Heart”, “Detour Ahead”, and “The Very Thought of You”) and the trio takes it with such maturity, poise and respect that is just highly remarkable in their young lives; by the closing number “Beautiful Love”, the trio showed its true simpatico, was clearly an in-sync unit, and they absolutely had a great time and sheer enthusiasm with the choice material.

A great night of straight ahead, swinging jazz produced by great up-and-coming talent shows that the future of jazz is surely bright and has no signs of slowing down.

(From Left:  Jacob Thompson, Ariel Shetzen, Chris Brinton)

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