Friday, August 31, 2012

Gerard Hagen Trio Song For Leslie Surf Cove Jazz 2012

To love what you do is the do it with someone you love has got to be even better! I wouldn't know being a narcissist comes with the job description here so I can only guess.

Gerard Hagen and his trio are rounded out with Domenic Genova on bass and Jerry Kalaf on drums. Song For Leslie which hits the streets on October 23, 2012 is the result of Hagen's desire to document his trio one more time before he and his wife/vocalist Leslie Hagen leave for Europe. Hagen's trio has two prior recordings under their belt but while working as his wife's music director Gerard Hagen of course uses her own trio as the rhythm section for their work together. 

Song For Leslie is a personal snapshot for Gerard Hagen, a moment in time with some original tunes and some timeless standards to measure themselves and how far they have come these many years as the trio originated in 1998. Standards included here are the Rodgers and Hart classic "My Romance" along with Cole Porter's "What Is This Thing Called Love?" and "A Weaver Of Dreams" from Jack Elliot and Victor Young. The remaining four tunes on the release are either Hagen originals or penned by drummer Jerry Kalaf.

Hagen is as formidable a composer as he is instrumentalist. "Song For Leslie" which was originally penned with his wedding to Leslie in mind. "464 Blues" gives a natural inclination for a true blues feel. Faking a blues tune doesn't work and Gerard Hagen has little to worry about with this infectious number. "Looking At The Despair Calendar" is a poignant all most brooding ballad with a captivating bridge. Hagen is an accomplished composer and arranger and his skills are testament to that fact on this recording. There is a bitter-sweet melancholy that seems to flow within significant portions of this recording that actually lend themselves well to the connectivity needed with virtually any audience. For Gerard Hagens this is not merely a goodbye to his trio but perhaps more appropriately a musical see you later! A sonic celebration of new adventures and past triumphs works well here. An engaging recording that any jazz piano fan would appreciate!

Tracks: My Romance; A Weaver Of Dreams; What Is This Thing Called Love; Song For Leslie; Where's Gerard?; Looking At The Despair Calendar; 464 Blues.

Personnel: Gerard Hagen: piano; Domenic Genova: bass; Jerry Kalaf: drums.