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I started a quest to find terrific blues music and incredible musicianship when I was just a little kid. I also have a tremendous appreciation of fine musical instruments and equipment. One of my greatest joys all of my life was sharing my finds with my friends. I'm now publishing my journey. I hope that you come along!

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Friday, July 23, 2021

ATM artist: Billy Test Trio - Coming Down Roses - New Release review

 I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release (August 13, 2021), Coming Down Roses, from the Billy Test Trio and it's really cool. Opening with All of You, a traditional Cole Porter number, Billy Test on piano is anything but subdued. His piano energy is over the top and Evan Gregor on bass stands out nicely on standup bass. Playing a bit of drums myself, I appreciate Ian Froman's tight time, textural use of ride cymbal and snare accents as much as his riding splash cymbals. Great opener. Original track, Fate is a bit more adventurous with a strong lyric melody but inventive improvization by Test. His use of not only phrasing but intensity and delicacy of presentation adds nicely to the composition. Driving track, Coming Down Roses, really is a solid concept with the agressive bass line of Gregor holding the bottom, Test really running hard on piano and Froman's complimentary drum accents. Gregor takes a really nice detour on bass  while Test and Froman lay back easy as he does, but never does the track sag. The piano return is a surprise with intense drumming from Froman giving it a great kick. Very nice. Mother's Day With Freud is another track that I really enjoy with an emphasis on a jagged rhythm pattern laid down by Froman. Gregor has the intermediary role, setting a great walking bass line, giving Test the freedom to improvise over a supple melody. It's really cool to listen to how tight Gregor holds the bottom as Test shifts the melody and Froman really wids it out. Froman and Gregor share the space on a loose jam before Test rejoins with accents of his own creating a really nice fusion frenzy. Very nice. Closing the release is Belonging, a much more restrained track with a strong piano melody. Test shows subtle intensity and Froman and Gregor, balance. This is a really nice closer for a solid release. 

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