(Sons of Sound SSPCD025)
Composed by Clay for his son, Travis, “Tray-Bo” is
written in AAB form and utilizes asymmetric phrases.
Beginning with a duo format of trumpet and drums,
the bass joins in during the B section. Listen
to the interplay and conversational quality the
Trio creates throughout.
“Up Against The Wall,” a John Coltrane
blues, cooks along at a medium-slow tempo that
emphasizes the absence of piano and allows the
Trio plenty of space to interact.
“Stop-Start” by Lee Morgan challenges
the Trio because it vacillates between Latin
and straight-ahead feels. Written in an AABA
form, its style best represents the Trio and
is thus the title cut.
Dizzy Gillespie’s “Con-Alma” is
one of the Trio’s favorites. The form lends
itself to many interpretations and in this setting
we decided to extend the intro with a tone-color
treatment of the beginning harmonic ideas. Listen
to the mastery Clay Jenkins employs as he slips
from the solo into the melody with seamless precision.
“In Fine Line,” another Jenkins
composition, has become one of the Trio’s
signature pieces. It features a rather obtuse
and technically challenging musical bass line
pitted against a demanding trumpet melody. I’ve
constructed a four-bar drum phrase that presents
a phasing or skewing effect that makes the piece
sound as if three different lines are occurring
simultaneously. There are also target measures
that separate the three tonal areas of the tune.
“Late Bloomer” by Clay Jenkins is
a new tune for the Trio, and we were immediately
taken by its rhythmic feel and buoyancy. The
open framework provides many possibilities, and
the Trio explores a longer intro coupled with
alternate sound possibilities in the drums and
bass. Nearly two minutes in length, this intro
could almost be considered a piece in itself.
Pay close attention to Jeff’s foreshadowing
of the ostinato bass line and the manner in which
the Trio builds Clay’s solo into a duo
and, finally, to an intense trio exchange. I
explore the use of fingers and hand drumming
to accompany Jeff’s bass solo.
“26-2” is a well-known John Coltrane
standard from Coltrane’s Sound. This track
provides a chance to reconnect with our roots
and show the listening community the great respect
we feel for our forefathers in jazz. Clay and
I stretch out on our solos as the Trio reworks
Mal Waldron’s “Soul Eyes” is
the only ballad featured. Because it is a personal
favorite, and given the fact that the composer
had passed away only a few weeks before our December
2002 recording session, we wanted to dedicate
this recording to Mal and his great work throughout
his life. The performance exudes a haunting and
“Happy House” is a rather obscure
Ornette Coleman tune that seemed a natural solo
vehicle for me to demonstrate the expressive
quality of brushes. I have a great supporting
cast for this 21-bar tune (19 bars on the head
out), and I hope you have as much fun listening
to it as I did recording it.
— Rich Thompson, June 2003
I knew from the first notes we played together
in December of 2001 that these musicians had
alot in common. The visceral quality in everyone’s
playing, combined with the constant communication
we felt each Thursday night during our gig at
the Little Theatre Café was undeniable.
This venue quickly became one of my favorites
because of the energy and creativity we felt
free to unleash. From week to week, I never knew
how any tune – jazz standard or original – was
going to sound until we were in the moment. In
an effort to recreate this spirit of spontaneity
and honesty in the studio, we recorded each tune
once, twice at most. I hope that the music herein
will be among your favorites as well.
— Rich Thompson
After having played together every week for
an entire year, it is very fulfilling for this
trio to have completed this recording. We have
established a wonderful relationship, working
within both the parameters and the freedoms of
a trio setting. I have always enjoyed playing
in a trio with bass and drums. Playing with Jeff
and Rich has been an enriching musical experience.
— Clay Jenkins
I enjoy Trio East because each of us brings
a strong sense of the jazz tradition to the group.
Perhaps more importantly, we allow an adventurous
spirit to exist with the intent of moving the
music forward. I also enjoy this group because
the primary responsibility of the harmonic definition
falls to the bass. In this situation, I’m
allowed a certain amount of latitude to support
and shape the overall harmonic content and direction
of the music. The music on this recording represents
a period in the ongoing (and never-ending) maturation
process of the individual and collective musicianship
of Rich, Clay, and myself.
— Jeff Campbell
We would like to thank our wives, Leslie Thompson,
Betty Jenkins, and Sharleen Campbell, and our
families for all of the love and support provided
on a regular basis. Thanks also to the people
who made this project happen in spite of their
busy schedules: Jeff Corcoran, Peter Erskine,
Maddy Sturm, and Ian Fry. Thanks to Bill Coppard
and the staff and fans from the Little Theatre.
Thanks also to Harold Danko for his friendship