Jacob Szekely Trio (Album release 8 21 15):
The Album begins with 300 years, a soulful meditation on time and the infinite. The track is an excellent example of Szekely’s style, which tends to favor the through-composition and an over-arching narrative structure of classical music, combined with contemporary jazz harmony and syncopated grooves, often in mixed meters.
“My father is a painter and introduced me to Elsworth Kelly’s art when I was really young” Jacob explains. I loved the idea of exploring the shadows in a picture and celebrating the idea that there is a world of detail in every corner”
Corner song starts out with a triumphant highly syncopated groove that builds in the ensemble and touches on influences which range from R&B to Frank Zappa!
Another example of Szekely’s Genre bending compositional style is The enigmatic Morning Rush touches on elements of jazz, metal, Indian, (listen to Jacob’s dramatic solo,) and culminates in a fugue contrapuntally blending all the previous themes of the piece.
Szekely’s wife also gets her name in the track listing. Diana’s Lullaby is the only solo piece on the record, and it features Jacob on a 5-string electric cello. “I usually write at the keyboard; this is the first composition that I’ve ever written on the cello itself.” Says Jacob: “I don’t know of any previous compositions for this instrument, and it was fun approaching the possibilities of such a blank canvas.” Insprired by Jaco and Metheny while living in a sound world all its own, Szekely utilizes finger-tapping and strumming, techniques borrowed from the electric bass lexicon, bringing them to new life on the cello.
Another standout is the dark electronic groove odyssey Project 7.
“The main form of the tune features an elastic structure that alternates between being in 6 and 7” Szekely explains. While much of the album features Rhodes and other electric KEyboard sounds, Project 7 takes Szekely’s Electric Chamber Jazz concept a step further with Whirling Synths and searing bass modules and noise generators.
The music finally gives way to Mr. Nelson’s epic and triumphant piano solo fading out and leaving the listener basking in the glow.
This is a downtempo groove featuring a 5 bar phrase in the solo form. Balance demonstrates Jacob’s epic approach to through composition and demonstrates Mr. Szekely’s ability to build compelling narrative arcs as a soloist.
“I’ve always been a big fan of Soundgarden and this tune in particular” Szekely explains. In Szekely’s highly original take on this prog metal classic, the song is reimagined and transfigured into a highly complex acoustic duo that blends influences on North indian/hip hop/and prog metal that is both intimate and rocking.
“Along with my great mentors, my biggest inspiration as an artist has been my wife,” Jacob explains. “I first heard the song Dig during a very difficult time in my life. I had just met Diana and had just lost my friend and colleague to a drunk driver. More than the melody or harmony of the tune it was the lyrical refrain that really stuck with me:
If I turn into another, Dig me out from under what is covering the better part of me sing this song remind me that we’ll always have each other when everything else is gone.
“I wanted to sing it to myself over and over again until I believed it and eventually the whole song just became a part of me in some way.” In Szekely’s capable hands the original song is completely transfigured into a music that is deeply complex and highly personal yet emotionally authentic and receivable at it’s core. The original harmony returns only at the end of the piece beneath Jacob’s soaring cello solo bringing the listener to an emotionally triumphant climax.
The album comes to its conclusion with Postlude:Houston. “This past year I had the honor of touring with Rush in Europe and North America,” Szekely explains. “They taught me so much about what it means to be a professional, and to be dedicated to your craft. Being a musician can be so bitter-sweet: you meet all these amazing people and fall in love with them, knowing that it’s all so finite. Postlude was written in my hotel room in Houston, on the last day of the tour, and it’s meant to capture the melancholy and sadness of saying goodbye.”