The Keith Emerson Trio

The Keith Emerson Trio

Not every unearthed rare recording from the greatest vintage rock guys and gals is always worth listening to. The sound quality from bygone eras or hastily recorded tracks off of soundboard mixes don't always cut the mustard, sorry to say. The Keith Emerson Trio CD is an exception though.

Recorded in 1963, in the living room of Keith Emerson's parents, we get a seven-song treat of young Emo fronting a drummer and upright bass player as they run through jazz classics and an original.

The jumpy "You Say You Can," has Emerson managing Vince Guaraldi-like quick chording and high octave runs, with his bassist bowing his instrument behind him. "There Will Never Be Another You" offers a more complicated arrangement, with Emerson wailing away on the higher octave and the bass player plucking this time.

Bass and snapping start off a version of Oliver Nelson's "Teenies Blues" until a wailing Emerson slides in. This one is quite loud, and you can really hear the full loose state of the recording. Big funky bass lines, a rimshot snare and Emerson leading makes for a quick, spirited tune with a solid major piano melody that moves things along perfectly.

"Winkle Picker Stamp is honky-tonk gold as the trio runs through this one with Emerson's left hand dexterity truly in evidence and the loose sway of the drummer for a few seconds of soloing. Emerson's "56 Blues" suffers a bit from what sounds like the drummer trying to find the right tempo and some too oft-used repeated main piano phrases.

The slower "Soul Station" ends with bass slipping round Emerson's bright attack; as with most of the songs here, the keyboards and bass are locked in tightly. The Keith Emerson Trio is a fun little jazz album that takes us back to the roots of Keith Emerson's extraordinary keyboard wizardry.

~ Ralph Greco

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