Album Spotlight: Trio Toledo

Toledo Local Features  |  By Kelly Thompson  |  12/10/2015

If you’ve been in many restaurants and bars around the city, you’ve probably had the chance to hear Jason Quick’s music. As a member of bands Stonehouse, Quickness, and the Jason Quick Trio, he is a versatile guitar player and composer.

What you may not know is that Trio Toledo, the jazz trio’s first album, was released quietly in January 2015. The album features the original lineup — Quick on guitar, Zac Kreuz on drums, and Steve Knurek on bass. Although Knurek is no longer with the trio, he showcases his skills on Trio Toledo, providing a backdrop of bending jumps reminiscent of the jazz bass greats. Currently, Knurek is a listed member of local bands Arctic Clam and the Estar Cohen Project, and often accompanies singer-songwriter Tim Oehlers on stage. The current bass player, Josh Bartolomeo, resides in Hamtramck, and like Quick, graduated from Wayne State University’s jazz program.

If you haven’t heard about the album, it isn’t surprising. Quick hasn’t advertised it widely; I can recall seeing a single poster in the window of a restaurant on St. Clair St., but that’s all I personally knew of it until our interview a few weeks ago. Talking to Quick is rewarding because he’s a reserved person with a wealth of knowledge. His formal training in jazz came from Bowling Green State and Wayne State Universities, but he’ll tell you that most of his training came from playing with others, on the stage, in front of a live audience.

“It was an extended project,” Quick said of the album. “I was able to introduce some original material to the guys [Kreuz and Knurek], and we were playing on a regular basis, it got to be a certain sound, and I thought, ‘It’d be nice to record this.’ Everyone was into it, and wanted to contribute their time.” The album was recorded in November 2013, at Big Sky Studios in Ann Arbor.

“We’re big Art Tatum fans. And I’m still not sure when it came up, but there’s that great picture of Tatum at a keyboard, just a well-executed mural, in the South End . . . that’s where we decided to stand for the cover art,” Quick explained. “It’s ‘Trio Toledo’ because we’re all here,  trying to make local jazz, but also original music, stuff that didn’t exist before.”

Featuring styles from calypso and mambo to swing, waltz and bebop, the album is not only a snapshot of an original local jazz band, but it also showcases the individual players’ talents. Without being able to see the trio playing, you can tell that it isn’t about ego. Solos aren’t prolonged or self-indulgent, and when they do happen, the other two musicians support from a respectful distance. It’s improvisation and collaboration in its truest form — musicians doing what they love.

Trio Toledo will be available on iTunes in the coming weeks, and is available in hard copy by contacting Jason Quick at [email protected].