By Keith Patterson
The many styles of piano playing called jazz are too many to name and changing every time a player tickles ivory. My favorite jazz pianists play a gumbo of styles, wielding the threat of improvisation like a carrot dangling just beyond the end of the next measure, driving the music forward while lingering just behind, where nuance dances naked with the beat.
I just listened to Quentin Walston playing a solo version of his original I’m With You. It is stunning. Just the man and his keyboard. Bebop comes to mind. He is playing all of the parts that a trio would perform, solo. So he’s got to set his own table to be the bop. And as all musicians who have ever attempted to solo among a group can attest, you can’t dance around the beat unless somebody is keeping the beat.
Quentin plays with the beat, off the beat, around the beat. And that’s just the beat. Melody, harmony, touch and feel are all fully developed and realized and paramount in every phrase, and after Walston lays out a template of what could follow, his improvisation is as impossibly casual as it is surprising, and yet somehow, inevitable.
And that’s just the piano player.
The Quentin Walston Trio includes award-winning drummer Daniel Kelly II. Kelly is also a composer and an educator, and will soon be studying in London as a part of a drumming master class and mixing workshop with Ash Soan at Metropolis Studios. Mr. Kelly is learnedly precise and creatively explosive, and is a perfect foil for Walston’s polymorphous musings.
The rhythm section is completed by Benjamin Rykhoff on bass. Rykhoff is a stalwart in his own right, a student of all that’s come before and able to manage the fertile turf between the interweaving rows being plowed by Walston and Kelly. But make no mistake based on my awkward metaphor. Even though these young men are locals, this jazz isn’t JUST for farmers. And, not only is the musicianship impeccable, the Quentin Walston Trio will be delivering a set of all originals.
See you there.