Jacob Szekely Trio

In his first outing as a leader, Szekely has created a unique musical tapestry that incorporates the richness of jazz improvisation, the structure of classical music and the edginess of rock into its own alchemy – which Szekely calls rock chamber jazz. A risk taker who generally went with the first takes in the studio, he’s created an album that expands the sonic culture of the cello and showcases the influences of classical, jazz, funk, rock and East Indian music. His compositions are highly complex, yet always have groove at their core. Szekely explains the genesis of his flexible, electric, groove-based ensemble known as the Jacob Szekely Trio – or JS3. “As studio musicians and sidemen, we’re encouraged to fit in, to sound like other musicians, but I’ve always been interested in pushing my instrument and myself. I was inspired by Miles Davis, John Coltrane and Jimi Hendrix early on but didn’t tell my teachers at conservatory, because that didn’t jibe with the classical tradition. It always felt like I was trying to bust out of the cello closet!” His discovery period led to a complete reimagining of the possibilities for his compositions; for the development of his distinct improvisational language on the cello; and for the unique sound of his trio. “Drums and piano take up a lot of sonic space, so I needed to work with musicians who were sensitive yet dynamic. Ultimately I connected with two top local studio artists, pianist/keyboardist Josh Nelson and drummer Christopher Allis. They created a textured, electric sound that compliments my compositions and the cello in expressive ways and creates space for a lightness of sound that stands out.” The trio’s dynamic performances have been hailed by press and by musicians including Yo-Yo Ma and Chick Corea. As Szekely summarizes: “I always knew that the sound of the cello was my voice, but there just wasn’t a template to uncover that. The results of my search have led to my unique approach as a cellist and as an artist.”