Making a debut appearance in the KNKX studios, the Seattle-based The Walking Hat Trio seemed a little nervous while warming up for their first-ever live broadcast. But once the music started, our audience got an earful of fresh, confident swinging and impressive new music.
Formed after a jam session four years ago, pianist Jonas Myers and drummer Cutts Peaslee started to develop some serious musical chemistry. Then, when they added bass player Ryan Donnelly a couple years later, they knew the band was on to something special.
The younger members of the band, 20-somethings Myers and Donnelly, found common ground with the more mature Peaslee in their love of The Beatles. Though their material is focused more on the Great American Songbook's jazz standards, as well as Myers' smart original tunes, the catchy infectiveness of the Fab Four isn't hard to hear.
Melody comes first with The Walking Hat Trio, often displaying a love for the bluesy origins of jazz in New Orleans, where Peaslee spent a formative decade as a musician and music fan. You can hear the results on a fine five-song collection, recently recorded at David Lange studios.
Impressively, the trio showed off original material in this studio session performance. Myers gets writing credit for the poppy jazz creations that hint at Brad Mehldau or young Justin Kauflin. Donnelly and Peaslee deserve plenty of applause for shaping the melodies into fully formed songs sure to please jazz fans and listeners trying out instrumental music for the first time.