Copyright Fred Hughes 2016
The dictionary defines matrix as: "Something within or from which something else originates, develops, or takes form." With that, Matrix seemed like the logical title for the Fred Hughes Trio's 8th release and 3rd recording for ShoreThing Records. The tunes on the recording have been developing over the years in various Trio performances and even the artwork by graphic artist John Langton originated from these instructions: "How does an album title of Matrix with the composers Johann Sebastian Bach, Dave Brubeck, Chick Corea, Bill Evans, George Gershwin, Herbie Hancock,Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky .... look to you? I was thinking along the lines of a mathematical formula, but I'll leave that to you."
The Fred Hughes Trio's matrix has been developing for twenty seven years having originated in the jazz clubs of Washington, DC. With Fred Hughes on piano, the current Trio features Amy Shook on bass and Frank Russo on drums.
Although he has been a professional and prolific jazz pianist and educator for several decades, Matrix (Shore Thing Records – 1116) is my first exposure to the artistry of FRED HUGHES. His trio, with bassist Amy Shook and drummer Frank Russo, addresses compositions by keyboard artist ranging from Johann Sebastian Bach and Pytor Ilyich Tchaikovsky, through George Gershwin, to Bill Evans, Dave Brubeck, Horace Silver, Chick Corea and Herbie Hancock. Hughes proves to be an eclectic, delightful and wonderfully creative artist. He explores a stylistic variety of compositions with superb intelligence, endowing each selection with a unique freshness that would have delighted the creators of the music who are no longer with us, and should bring smiles to the faces of the still active Corea and Hancock. This is a thoroughly delightful collection of songs played by a trio of musicians who are consistently on the same wavelength.
The interview is at the top of the show after the intro.
The trio’s rapport is congenial as they venture off into terrain outside of the perimeters of the originals that they retool. The musicians direct the course of the tracks by milling new passages driven by their individual contributions, showing the pliability of arrangements that others have considered as being written in stone.
Susan Frances, BlogCritics.org
The Fred Hughes Trio – MATRIX: OK, so you want “lively” in your jazz, right? I can tell you right now, without qualification, that this CD is the highest energy jazz release I’ve heard (yet) in 2017! The players, Fred on piano, Amy Shook on bass and Frank Russo on drums, on this January 16th, 2017 album, give you fourteen excellent performances of compositions from jazz legends like Herbie Hancock, Dave Brubeck and Horace Silver (just to name a few). As you listen to their interpretation of Silver’s “Room 608“, you’ll realize you’ve got a true jazz gem in your hands (or on your player, if you get it digitally)… truly wonderful energy going on here!
Rotcod Zzaj, ContemporaryFusionReviews.com