Steampunk and Lima Beans

By JON GARELICK  |  February 9, 2010

But if you don't notice, then what's the point? The answer gives yet another meaning to the punning title. "When you're listening to the drum solo, it doesn't have the same kind of 'weight,' the same kind of heaviness that a 4/4 solo would have." Seager also tried to write a chord progression that would be more circular than linear. "The set of changes doesn't really have a 'top,' so you can't tell where the beginning of the form is. The thing I'm working on in that is not to be so heavy on the '1,' not having the top of the form be such a heavy landing point."

The rich jazz harmonies and the melodic lyricism are typical of Seager, but he's recast them. Only one song, Cole Porter's "Everything I Love," is a standard played in swing rhythm. The others (all written in a three-week period at the MacDowell Colony in Peterborough, New Hampshire) experiment with different rhythms, relying heavily on the collaboration of his trio mates. "Rockturne" is Brazilian Latin, "Prelude" is a Bach-inspired slow 5/4 ("much harder to play than fast 5/4"), and "Bounce" has a rock backbeat to exploit Pérez-Albela's former life as a stadium-rock drummer in Lima. As a coda to the album, Seager even offers a charming debut as a singer.

"I'm just not writing jazz rhythms any more. There are so many moods that rhythm can bring into the music. And it just doesn't come out that way [jazz rhythm] when I'm writing. You set different challenges for yourself. You play the tunes, and then you write new ones. It's a nice way to spend a life, to keep learning like that."

BERT SEAGER TRIO | Regattabar, Charles Hotel, 1 Bennett St, Cambridge | February 24 at 7:30 pm | $15 | 617.395.7757 or www.regattabarjazz.com | DARCY JAMES ARGUE'S SECRET SOCIETY | Regattabar | February 25 at 7:30 pm | $20

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