The very first time we played together as a trio, we felt a special vibe and a sense of freedom and creativity. Jason and Mike had been working in a Brazilian-style jazz band, playing without a bass player, trading off the time-keeping and comping roles between the guitar and piano. When the rest of the group was unable to make a gig at Albany’s Justin’s on Lark, Jason suggested asking Natalia, a vocalist he had just met, to make the trip upstate. The material we played that evening was, for the most part, familiar bossa-novas and sambas, but the music seemed to go in very surprising directions. We were all attracted to the possibilities and potential of this ensemble.
From that moment on, we sought to perform and create as a trio, seeking to weave our three sounds into one cohesive entity. Rather than existing as two instrumentalists accompanying a singer, the band has adopted a modern jazz trio aesthetic; each member of the group has attempted to hold an equal role in the ensemble, both as soloist and accompanist. This goal inspired the title of this recording, graciously suggested by our friend Ryu: La Voz de Tres, literally, The Voice of Three.
Drawing on the eclectic musical background of each member of the band, our repertoire quickly expanded to include classic boleros such as “Inolvidable,” Andean folk tunes such as “Ojos Azules,” Jazz standards such as “Tenderly,” and some of Natalia’s original songs. Each song has been chosen both because of its compositional beauty and because it offered unique possibilities for interpretation by our ensemble. The choice of repertoire also reflects the variety of genres in which the three of us have worked: Brazilian, Cuban, jazz and other South and North American styles, in addition to classical music influences. As we have drawn upon various traditions for our inspiration, we have never meant to simply mimic something that already exists, but rather to experience the music through the prism of our own influences and unique musical personalities. We hope you enjoy hearing our fresh takes on the more familiar tunes, discovering some new music and checking out the unique sound of this trio.
-Natalia Bernal, Mike Eckroth and Jason Ennis (April, 2010)