Shay Estes & Trio ALL

The serious pop and casual-jazz listener may wonder where Shay Estes & Trio ALL — an acronym of the last names of drummer Zack Albetta, pianist Mark Lowrey and bassist Ben Leifer — are going on Despite Your Destination. It’s the arrangements; they take risks with well-known songs. But the risks are rewarding. Besides the usual standards (“Cry Me a River,” “‘Round Midnight”), the album includes songs such as Tom Waits’ “Little Drop of Poison,” which gets the Latin treatment, and the Beatles’ “Across the Universe,” which has a like-it or don’t-like-it-so-much sound, thanks to some chord substitutions that throw the listener off. But between Estes’ vocal delivery and Lowrey’s piano solo, it works on its own merits. The Church’s “Under the Milky Way” gets Estes’ torch-song treatment and shows the song’s adaptability. Guests sax man Mark Southerland and bassist Jeff Harshbarger need something to do, so Southerland gets a chancy arrangement of “How Deep Is the Ocean” to showcase his solos, and Harshbarger adds vocals to “Milky Way.” Not everyone may like where Estes and ALL are going, but one thing’s for sure: They arrive in style.

Categories: Music