I love the Isley Brothers, and their place in my heart is as unique as their place in music history. I’m hard pressed to think of many other artists who’ve produced strong work with such a diversity of sounds and a consistent evolution over such a long period of time.
Or maybe “Augmented Piano Trio?” I don’t know what to call it, really, but the Trio plus Chamber-Ensemble on my Ripples album have evoked a lot of questions about the inspiration and methodology behind that music. The hierarchy I had in mind is difficult to articulate. It’s not really “octet music” in the sense of the piano, bass and drums being a rhythm section. Neither, though, is the work of the rest of the ensemble purely decorative window-dressing. Essentially, the trio is the central unit with the rest of the musicians playing a supporting role, but a (hopefully) well-integrated and important one.
As a musician, it is a treat whenever the opportunity arises to play with someone who brings out your best. It is, however, a rare and special confluence when you can play with someone who brings out a “best” that you otherwise wouldn’t have even known was in there. So it has gone for ten years now with the members of my Trio, Henry Lugo and Vinnie Sperrazza.