Krupa CD Review – March 2014

past times now. Pete Siers Flawlessly Reanimates Gene Krupa
by Hannon Hylkema
March 2014 The Communicator

click here to read/download a pdf version of this that includes photos

The makings for great albums come from within great musicians. Pete Siers, Tad Weed and Dave Bennet certainly bring greatness to the music they make.
“Krupa” is no exception. This trio is rhythmically superb and they pack a powerful energy into each of the tracks on this record while paying homage to the repertoire of the great drummer Gene Krupa. All 15 songs on the record are quite complex as far as orchestration goes, yet, these men make the tunes sound simple: from straight ahead swing to smooth ballads the groove never dies. True emotion is conveyed on this record allowing it to communicate with, and reach its audience. This trio has undergone years of crafting, studying, perfecting and performing these tunes; they eloquently proved their mastery over each and every one.

One may be accustomed to the sound of Benny Goodman’s classic big band take on “Sing Sing Sing,” but the Pete Siers Trio does a more than comparable rendition of the tune. Each member of the group exerts a ferocious amount of energy, matching the thrill of big band stylings. As Siers pushes the beat with impeccable timing, Bennet and Weed soar all throughout the progression demonstrating their abilities to swing and execute complex lines. For this tune, one may want to open their mind and ears to allow this melody entrance.

The first track “Wire Brush Stomp” is energetic from the get go. Siers begins with lively upbeat brush work which sets the mood for the piano and clarinet to enter with purpose. Bennet’s sound is full and rich- reminiscent of the legendary Benny Goodman. This song especially demonstrates the tightness of the trio.  A well-trained ear would be able to hear the chemistry of these men, and one could tell that they have been playing together for a while, however, this is the first record they have released collaboratively

Speaking on his motivation to create a project featuring the music of Gene Krupa, Siers gave a succinct synopsis.

“As I was collecting this music I thought, ‘man I gotta do this with these guys [Weed and Bennet] while this is still happening and I’m connected with these guys.’”

Fortunately for the jazz community, Pete Siers brought his plan to fruition, because if he had not, a one of a kind work of art and a powerful record would be missing from the new era.

This record is not definable by any standard. It is unique in the sense that there isn’t much like it in the new era of modern jazz and jazz composition.  Siers reflected and shared his own personal description of the record.

“I love it, I think it’s got some raw power to it. It’s very quirky, it’s got a lot of sense of humor in it, it’s a bit novelty. It’s not your mainstream kind of thing at all. It was a bit risky after I had it in the bag and listened to it, like, ‘Wow, this does not fit that mold- it doesn’t fit that mold, I just do not know where to put this. But I know it’s good!’”

This statement is more than true because the album is more than good. It is immaculate. The tunes run the gambit of diversity in jazz, appealing to a wide demographic of listeners. Although jazz is not present in the ears of all listeners, this album could be for it is very accessible. More than jazz cats can get down with these sounds – any music lover could. The Pete Siers Trio speaks to listeners with a multitude of great rhythms and general musicality. This is what draws in young, old, jazzers, hip-hoppers, funk groovers, rappers and trappers. The Pete Siers Trio has created a gem for all to behold.