Album Review: ‘Tomorrow’ – Aleks Girshevich Trio
Tomorrow – Aleks Girshevich Trio
The piano trio is one of the most traditional – and formidable – of all jazz configurations. Anyone new entering the genre not only has to compete with the legacy of such giants of the form as Bill Evans and Oscar Peterson, but they also need to be able to hold their own against outstanding contemporary exponents such as Brad Mehldau, Trichotomy and The Bad Plus.
How do the Aleks Girshevich Trio fair? Well, not badly. Pianist and composer Vlad Girshevich is a thrilling and adventurous talent, whilst bassist (and producer) David Arend is an engaging player with a great warm tone. His bass work on ‘Tomorrow’, with its slippery, sliding groove, and his Ron Carter flavored solo on the stand-out track ‘Broken Promises’ are both fabulous. He accredits himself well throughout the album and his playing is a pleasure to listen to.
But what of drummer Aleks himself? Well… here’s the dilemma. Aleks (Vlad’s son) is just eleven years old, a gifted child prodigy, and – as such – the unique selling point of this group. His presence generates a level of publicity which, without him, they might struggle to obtain. There’s no doubt he’s pretty nifty behind the kit as the imaginative clips and swaggering rhythm of ‘Where were you?’ testify. He plays with a confidence and style that is way beyond his age. However, how far beyond? Probably about six or seven years. In other words, whilst there’s no doubt that he has the potential to be a drummer of the highest calibre, he is still some way off achieving that. At the moment his technique and feel are still developing and so at times – such as during his solo sections of ’222′ – it’s plain that he just doesn’t quite hold his own with his older, more experienced co-members. Without wishing to be mean to a child, the CD has to be taken on its own merits, so I did find myself thinking how much better these tracks would sound had they been recorded in a few years time.
Thus the issue which the band face is that whilst, clearly, this is no novelty act – it’s not ‘Two and a Half Men: the jazz years’ – musically they aren’t really going to start hitting their full potential until Aleks has matured as a drummer.
However, if Girshevich senior continues to write tunes of the calibre included on this album, they need not worry. ‘The Other Side’ is reminiscent of Vince Guaraldi at his best, while the melody of the album’s title track is worthy of Joe Jackson’s jazz-tinged work. So forget the branding; this really is the Vlad Girshevich Trio – a tremendous piano player with a great bassist and a competent drummer. They are pretty good now, but in a few years time they will be amazing.