Jon and Kent Eshelman's debut CD, Life Is Good, is a showcase for Jon's soulful Hammond B-3 organ and Kent's excellent jazz tuba and boogie-woogie piano! What a strange and wonderful combination for jazz! This charmingly quirky CD from two supremely talented brothers starts out with a swinging example of tuba and B-3 bebop.
Concentratin', based on Cole Porter's standard I Concentrate On You, shows off Brother Kent's remarkable agility on the tuba. Brother Jon and the rhythm section lay down a solid groove on Concentratin' and throughout this fine album.
Brothers Blues is nothing but the blues! Kent switches from tuba to piano for a musical conversation between the two brothers. The shuffle groove lends itself well to one of Kent's favorite piano styles-boogie-woogie.
The band has a lot of fun on The Playground, which features a constantly changing accent structure. The rhythmic ideas and the playful character of the melody make this composition fun for everyone to listen to despite its complexity.
Complexity is the furthest thing from Boogie Woogie Romp! It's nothing but good old boogie-woogie that just has to put a smile on your face when you listen to it. Kent's piano work throughout this inspiring piece is an exclamation point on this CD's statement that Life Is Good!
Jon and Kent Eshelman: Brothers in life and brothers in music! Their parents must be so proud!
The beautiful Duke Ellington composition Mood Indigo sounds like it could have been written with tuba and organ in mind. The two instruments create a warm blend as they state the melody together. The gentle ballad treatment given here creates just the kind of mood the title suggests, with a brief swinging interlude for an organ solo in the Jimmy Smith/Erroll Garner style sometimes known as "squabbling".
The arrangement of the Gigue from Bach's 5th Cello Suite gives this classic composition new life in the form of a contemporary jazz quartet setting. The chord changes implied by Bach's melody are perfect for jazz improvising. Drummer Dave Weinstock drives the band ferociously! Dave also caps things off with a tuba-accompanied drum solo.
The title track, Life Is Good, is B-3 bossa nova at its best! The genre may conjure up images of Walter Wanderly, but this is no easy listening track. Guitarist Tim Cummiskey delivers a cooking solo as he skillfully navigates through the multiple keys of the chord structure. Kent and Jon then offer strong solo statements on this ever-changing harmony.
The medium tempo Happy Hours has a deep groove. The feel and the arrangement may remind the listener of the Basie band, complete with Freddie Green style guitar. It will be hard to keep your feet from tapping as you listen this track!
Dancing Around The Obvious is an up-tempo "Rhythm changes" tune with a few harmonic twists. Jon, Kent, and Tim all "dance" through these musical undulations adventurously.
Antonio Carlos Jobim's Wave is presented in a slightly different context than usual: altered form and harmony give an interesting makeover to this bossa nova classic.