At 18 years of age, Steve Fentriss has already become one of Ann Arbor, Michigan's most prominent jazz drummers, logging stage time with James Dapogny, Paul Keller, Ramona Collins, Sunny Wilkinson, Tad Weed, Louis Smith, The Ron Brooks Trio, and many others. He was recently named a Clifford Brown/Stan Getz All-Star by the International Association of Jazz Educators and the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts, an annual award only given to five high school seniors out of an international field of thousands.
With his debut CD, Early Last Morning, Steve shows that he is not only a fine drummer, but also a great composer and bandleader.
EARLY LAST MORNING contains eight original Steve Fentriss compositions performed by Steve and local jazz favorites: pianist Mark Kieswetter, trumpeter Paul Finkbeiner, trombonist Chris Smith, saxophonist Vincent York and bassist Paul Keller.
"Panoramic Pictures," the CD's opener, is a high-energy samba that opens with a lengthy solo statement from drummer/leader Steve Fentriss.
The title track, "Early Last Morning," features Vincent York as he sails through the changes of this medium-tempo swinger.
Kenny Wheeler's "Smatta" contains stellar piano, trombone, and trumpet solos, as well as a nifty surprise ending.
Fentriss' "Two Like A Song" is a dreamy waltz played tenderly by flugelhorn and trombone in harmony.
"Marcella's Mocha" recalls Thelonious Monk's "Well, You Needn't."
Fentriss' soulful ballad, "Since Then," is delivered passionately by trombonist Chris Smith.
Trumpeter Tom Harrell's "April Mist" has an uplifting latin feel, unconventional harmonies, and delightful solos.
The recording's only trio piece, "Could Go Either Way," demonstrates the empathy between pianist Kieswetter, bassist Keller, and drummer Steve Fentriss.
The CD's 6-piece ensemble shines on "The Fink Factor," a Fentriss original dedicated to trumpeter Paul Finkbeiner.
The CD closes with "Alexa's Thing," a stunning avant-garde piano performance by Steve Fentriss.
For more information call the Firefly Club at 734/665-9090 or visit www.fentrissmusic.com.