Tabs Out | Sfyria Trio – Rockefeller Concert

Sfyria Trio – Rockefeller Concert

10.25.19 by Ryan Masteller

Sam Decker, Charlie Kirchen, and Matt Carroll did NOT play Rockefeller Center at Christmastime, because that’s what I thought too. Rockefeller CHAPEL (all caps for emphasis because Mike won’t learn how to do italics) is in Chicago, Illinois, because that’s also the city where the members of the trio happen to be based. In this chapel, on May 30, 2017 (wow, that long ago?), Decker, Kirchen, and Carroll opened instrument cases containing tenor sax, bass, and drums (respectively), and set themselves up for a tense and tempestuous improv session. Obviously it took a little time to set up the kit; the sax and bass were pretty much ready to go. (Insert joke about drummers here, amiright???)

But “Rockefeller Concert” is no joke, no laughing matter. It has no room for mirth or levity, because once the Trio got down to business, they locked themselves IN. Maybe feeling the solemnity of the location, they don’t explode in a flurry of jazz virtuosity, instead contenting themselves to work around the edges, dotting the sonic landscape with well-chosen notes and beats that leaves much for the imagination to fill in. Acting as guides through the venue space, the Sfyria boys highlight specific moments and constructions, hovering at intervals like hummingbirds at a feeder before sprinting to the next location, then hovering there as well for a bit. Intricate exploration is a strength for the group, and they fuss over the finer details they pinpoint until something else catches their ear. There’s no rush, though: everybody takes their time until their satisfied, and this invites us to get closer and explore right along with them.

“Rockefeller Concert” comes in an edition of 175 from Astral Spirits. Get one IMMEDIATELY. (All caps again, SMH.)

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