Album Review: Nick Hetko/Rich Syracuse/Jeff “Siege” Siegel | When You Were There | Music | Hudson Valley | Chronogram Magazine

When You Were There

Nick Hetko/Rich Syracuse/Jeff Siegel
(Artists Recording Collective)


As far memorials go, When You Were There is a raucous, swinging thing. The trio of pianist Nick Hetko, bassist Rich Syracuse, and drummer Jeff Siegel pay tribute to their mentor and former bandleader Dr. Lee Shaw, who died in 2015, by displaying their own significant chops as players and composers. Each of the bandmates contributes a couple of originals and, as the tunes range from about six and a half minutes to over 13 minutes in length, there's a lot of yardage in which to showcase their skills. Hetko's left hand moves like a flock of birds in whirls and eddies, outlining rather than highlighting melodies; as complement, Syracuse's bass playing is fluid and lyrical; Siegel works his full kit expressively. The track list has the exuberant feel of a live set, and I almost longed for the murmur of an audience and the clinking of cocktail glasses. The album's three covers include Shaw's title track, the slow Latin groove of which provides the wistful emotional heart of a set of otherwise upbeat and athletic performances.

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