Last Sunday the Done for the Evening Jazz Trio delivered a concert of original compositions and one Pat Metheny cover at St. Matthias Episcopal Church in Asheville. The unusual lineup of Bryan White on bass, Frank Southecorvo on tenor and alto saxophones, and guest Brian Turner on the Fender Rhodes electric piano required the musicians to focus on the harmonic aspects of the compositions and to set up and maintain a groove without the aid of percussion.
The concert opened with a Southecorvo number, “Eric’s Coffee.” The tune began with a funky line courtesy of White and then delved into a righteous walking line which Southecorvo stretched out with some Sonny Rollins-style tenor playing. The Pat Metheny composition “Hermitage” developed into a Middle Eastern feel during the solos. Both Turner and White took the harmonic structure far afield, with White, especially, playing a magnificent, largely unaccompanied solo. His chant-like lines underscored the title of the piece, and when he returned to more “inside” playing just before the head, the release of the built-up tension was palpable.
“Felix the Cat” and “32 Bar Recovery Plan” were White originals which exhibited his penchant for playful, somewhat angular melodies and gave way to satisfying solos, especially Turner’s funky take on "Felix the Cat." Two minor, dark groove-based pieces followed, “George’s Runaway Scooter” by Southecorvo and “Espresso Evening” by White. The Rhodes solo on the latter was mildly reminiscent of Chick Corea’s '70s output and while both tunes were fine compositions, they sounded a bit too much the same to be programmed back to back.
Frank Southecorvo’s “After Leaving” was perhaps the finest selection of the concert. The beautiful melody, played on tenor, drew much audience appreciation, and a rock feel White set up before the keyboard solo let Turner explore the weird sound effects electronic keyboards can produce. The solo was one of the best of the afternoon, and after all the strange sounds, the return to the melody was a stunning transition.
The program closed with the blues “After You I Insist” by White which was mostly used as a vehicle to trade fours, setting up a conversation among the artists, and the funky “Mike the Biscuit Man,” on which Southecorvo laid down a compelling, behind-the-beat solo.
The Done for the Evening Jazz Trio impressed in their performance at St. Matthias. All three players demonstrated their knowledge of the jazz idiom, and Brian Turner in particular showed that he is a soloist with a fecund mind for improvisation. Southecorvo plays with a fantastic tone, and White’s grooves can drive a band, even without a drummer. Hopefully the trio will be heard around town more often.