Album: Coming Down Roses
Artist: Billy Test Trio
Label: ATM Records is proud to present
Debuting as a bandleader, pianist Billy Test releases Coming Down Roses with his trio, comprising of Evan Gregor on bass and Ian Froman on drums. The album title is a play on the colloquial phrase, “Everything’s Coming Up Roses,” reflecting life when everything is going along a positive route. However, when life is not, one can assume the roses are falling as people are trying to catch them. Test puts this image in people’s heads, serving as a recurring theme throughout the recording as the course of the music moves in the direction of grasping at joy.
Clad with several original numbers written by Test that are dabbled with reimagined tunes, the trio produce a lulling effect on the listener’s senses, interspersed with moments of frenzy. The schematics of the playlist keeps listeners aware of the interplay among the trio.
“Hardly” is one number catacomb by rapturous frenzies and billowing drum thrusts. A contrafact loosely based on a popular standard from the Great American Songbook, the song’s title negates the title of the original tune. The audience is entranced by the trio blazing across the melodic progressions with speed, agility and nimble movements. The trio’s performance soothes to a lulling tempo along Test’s original work “Empty Spaces.” The gentle cascade of Test’s rippling keys produce a caressing effect through the melody, inciting a pensive mood portrayed by thoughtful impressions emanating from the narration. The sensitivity in his phrasing is palpable.
The title track shifts course with a swinging rhythm, demonstrating each of the musicians talent for lyrical dynamics. Their sense of harmony and interplay manifest a suave fluidity as each member performs a solo, flexing their intuitive leanings and sprightly gait. “Mother’s Day with Freud” is a modern look at what Freud, the German founder of psychiatry, would think about Mother’s Day, a day marked to celebrate moms. The tune exercises Test’s instincts to make lofty and erratic statements that jump out at the listener while entwined with the bopping beats of the bass and thrashing strikes of the drums.
The trio’s performance blends impressions of jubilance and introspection using the jazz palette. Test’s distinct melodic finesse and harmonic depth is reminiscent of the leading composers of classical music. His sensitive strokes and clear tone hook listeners, giving them something to grasp onto while releasing feelings kept inside and producing a semblance of joy through the release.
Billy Test – Piano
Evan Gregor – Bass
Ian Froman – Drums