THE MARKET STreet Tavern is a laid back place. Dave of The Ben Friberg Trio, the bassist, recalls their first gig at the Holiday Inn where they all met. The people weren’t spread out the same. Here there were diners enjoying the music at their seats. Not many were moving around until after the set.
Jazz is a kind of social event. It’s not only the people. The band meets. A few notes here and there, but there is a progress to the musical socializing. The musicians become more attuned to their instruments and recognize the sounding out of the songs. It’s a wonder how musicians begin to get one another and what makes one band work over simply getting along.
It was an intimate setting. Before the set began, Jim Crumble, the drummer, brought in his nine-piece drum set, piece by piece. He assembled his instrument before the other two band members arrived. Things went straight ahead after that.
Jim listened as Dave Schwab talked about school and friends waiting for Ben while diners ordered, ate and drank at their seats in the medium lighting. He had a big research paper he just wrote, twenty pages, and two short papers about seven to eight pages. He had a friend who was on the freeway during the storm that passed through Tennessee. He knew it was a tornado when he saw the lights of the other cars coming towards him on the freeway. Like the conversation, jazz is about knowing the people around you more and bringing people closer.
The Trio exchanged solos in a few songs. Jim kept excellent time on the high hat, and tapped the cymbals to keep a thought provoking pace. Ben Friberg the guitarist had high notes that Dave the bassist doubled very nicely on the bass. The articulation was crisper on the guitar than on the bass. On the two instruments the notes were in the higher register that complimented beautifully the thick, gutsy texture of bass and the bright, nickel guitar strings.
Ben has a Gibson. Dave has a bass he says that sounds best in the summer. He calls it his summer bass because the strings are too loose in the winter. Amplification improved the sound for the room all the notes were clearly sounded. However, the resonance on the strings was deep enough to be heard without any amplifiers.
After the Trio performed All Blues, the band members mingled. This last song was the easiest for me to recognize because of the classic pedal in the bass. It’s a perfect choice with the guitar. The Trio approached the song with an improved rendering of the pedal with Jim keeping time and hitting a few accents on the cymbals.