MEMBERS & INSTRUMENTS:
Jeff Brent (piano, vocals, guitar); Bob Dennis (bass); Bill Borjan (drums).
CITY OF ORIGIN:
Trio7 (World Famous Super Star Productions, 2007).
Bud Powell, Art Tatum, Charlie Parker, Count Basie, Nat King Cole, Oscar Peterson, Bill Evans, Jimmy Smith, Jelly Roll Morton, Fats Waller, Otis Spann and Antonio Carlos Jobim.
Granted, jazz doesn’t typically sport the thunderous bass of hip-hop beats nor the coarse, distorted guitars of metal, but that doesn’t mean the genre can’t be just as exciting. In fact, it’s that vitality and zest that Trio7 frontman Jeff Brent utilizes for his performances.
“The earliest jazz was energetic, loud and fun music, bubbling with life and laughter,” he says. “Somewhere along the way, jazz became stodgy and stuffy and relegated to background sonic wallpaper in bars and restaurants.”
Brent’s Riverside-based combo’s performances won’t be permanently affixed as forgettable ear candy. As Brent explained, he’s building a unique bridge between the jazz genre and the rock stage show.
“I play many modern styles of jazz, but I approach them with the same contagious passion and energy that originally made jazz—and rock ‘n’ roll—the ‘happening thing,’” he says.
Brent notes that he’s been playing in jazz trios since his twenties. “I’ve performed all over the world, and have now settled in Riverside,” he says. “My early jazz trios were always called ‘The Jeff Brent Trio,’ but during my 15 years living in Europe, I got christened with the nickname ‘7’ and since then, I’ve used ‘Trio7’ as the name for my jazz trios.”
Famous Joe’s is the only IE club where you can currently find Trio7—and that’s when Brent’s not already playing during his day job as a music teacher. “Even though I make my entire living via music, I’m not obliged to be hustling gigs all over the show just to stay alive,” he says.
As for their shows, Brent notes that it’s a party. But it was an audience member who seemed to have partied too much, as Brent recalls an encounter at another venue. “This drunk chick came up to me and asked if we knew any Etta James songs,” he starts. “I told her that we didn’t do R&B. Then she said huffily, ‘Well, if you don’t know any Etta James, what do you play?’ I guess she must’ve just walked in. Sorry, Etta, but you got really upset when Beyoncé sang one of ‘your’ songs—so I wouldn’t dare.”
Trio7 at Famous Joe’s Italian Kitchen & Jazz Club, 17136 Van Buren Blvd. Riverside, (951) 780-9874; www.famousjoeskitchen.com. Sat, 8PM.