Ken Talve Trio: Out Of The Blue
Out of the Blue is an appropriate title for guitarist Ken Talve’s second CD, since the double-disc is a rich helping of the jazz and rock tributaries he navigates through a blues-influenced undercurrent.
Along with trio partners Chris Eisner Jr. (bass) and Anthony Cerabino (drums), Talve charts a 13-song, 94-minute course through what might have been for Stevie Ray Vaughan. That blues/rock star hinted at a possible jazz future with the closing track, the instrumental epic Riviera Paradise, from his final 1989 album In Step before he died in a helicopter crash the following year.
Like Vaughan, though, Talve creates a unique style through a wide range of influences on this all-original effort. Disc one’s opener, Green’s Blues, serves as an appetizer through the guitarist’s Mike Stern-approved chording and soloing and the rhythm section’s rootsy, loping groove. Kooka follows with a lighter, jazzier feel that echoes some of Larry Carlton’s work, and Enough for One is a Robben Ford-worthy mix of jazz and blues.
Smoke and Mirrors ups the experimental factor through Talve and Eisner playing unison lines while Cerabino adds percolating patterns with his hi-hats, snare drum and footwork. A studio-enhanced, effects-laden bridge precedes a standout Eisner solo and Talve’s clever whammy bar work near the coda.
The evocative ballad Once and Again and 10-plus-minute Talve chordal showcase Which Way Out? (with another stellar break by Eisner) close the introductary disc, forming a perfect segue into disc two’s opener. The title track, with its 6/8 time signature and quotes from the chorus of the Willie Dixon blues standard Spoonful (later covered by Cream), point to the rock and blues influence of Eric Clapton on Talve.
Piggy Back mixes jazz and funk, and is enhanced by Cerabino’s off-timed hi-hat and ride cymbal accents; Puddles is a strutting blend of blues feel with jazz nuance that’s reminiscent of some of Jimi Hendrix’s more experimental instrumental passages.
The well-paced closing CD ends with three very different tracks. Night of White is a soulful, understated piece that features a memorable Talve guitar melody, and Feels like Sunday another bluesy 6/8 number on which Eisner’s brilliant bass chords enhance those of the guitarist. All of which leads to Hunky Dory, a tour-de-force closing statement on which Eisner’s rootsy low end glues Cerabino’s accentuated jazz patterns together with Talve’s wah-wah pedal funk and whammy bar rock elements.
Ken Talve (guitar)
Chris Elsener Jr. (bass)
Anthony Cerabino (drums)
1. Greens Blues
3. Enough for One
4. Berrie Stella
5. Smoke and Mirrors
6. Once and Again
7. Which Way Out?
8. Out of The Blue
9. Piggy Back
11. Night of White
12. Feels Like Sunday
13. Hunky Dory