Trio Works Sol
Straight-ahead and ever tasteful guitarist Joe Wittman announces the release of his debut album: Trio Works Sol. The album is the natural result of the band playing hundreds of gigs together over Wittman’s 10 years in New York City.
With Daniel Duke on Bass and Keith Balla on drums, the trio plays with ease and comfort- like familiar conversation over coffee or a pint. Wittman isn’t afraid to leave space for his companions to creatively fill, giving the music the sound of a band as opposed to that of a leader being backed by a rhythm section.
The idea behind Trio Works Sol was to record original music that came naturally to the band, with a few favorite standards mixed in. The tunes are fun springboards into improvisation and the vibes of each tune are unique to themselves, making them feel fresh not only to the listener but to the performers as well.
The record opens up with “The Judge,” a no nonsense modern jazz tune that reveals Wittman's depth as a composer; followed by a groovy, feel-good track playfully titled “Big Sip Riser.'' Bringing us back to earth is the beloved old standard “Sweet Lorraine,” where Wittman shows soul and personality in his relaxed, walking ballad interpretation. The brisk “Isiah Restored” takes the tempo upstairs while showing off the rhythm section's natural swing, before “Felon Wind” allows the listener to indulge their moody side. The band gets playful in 3/4 with “Three Trick Pony,” a tune with a unique form. Finally, Wittman lets his blues flag fly on the last couple tunes: “Born to be Blue” and the funky “Boogie for Bloomfield.”
Throughout the album, Wittman’s clean crisp tone is on full display. He navigates the changes with ease, but always with a bluesy disposition. His ideas are often bolstered by Balla’s clever snare work and Duke’s accents, but the underlying groove goes on, uninterrupted.
Providing the pillars of swing is only part of the roles Balla and Duke play in this effort. Their solos just as easily take center stage; ideas fresh and inspired but always rooted in tradition, tipping their caps to the forefathers of their respective instruments.
When it came to recording this record, the band took a raw approach. Working out of Trading 8ths studio in Paramus, New Jersey, engineer Chris Sulit helped them find a suitable way to record together in one room. Recording this way allows for a more natural and live performance experience while shrinking the margin for error, taking away the possibility of rerecording any parts after the fact. The live, organic sound signals to the listener that there are no secrets here, and welcomes them gladly into the inviting groove of Trio Works Sol.
Up Coming Releases
Look out for Trio Works Lume set to be released later this year, 2023. It is Trio Works Sol's companion piece and features a lot of Joe's tunes with some beloved standards mixed it.
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