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Departure — The Echoes Living Room Concert
(Bandcamp no#, 2017/2024, DL)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2024-03-13

The Echoes Living Room Concert Cover art

Funny how things happen. FLOW is a supergroup of sorts featuring singer / pianist Fiona Joy, guitarist Lawrence Blatt, guitarist Will Ackerman, and trumpeter Jeff Oster (the O in FLOW), who were on the East Coast in the fall of 2017 for a series of relatively high profile concerts culminating in a live appearance on John Diliberto’s Echoes radio show in New Jersey. Guitarist Vin Downes had been playing duets with Ackerman, and Tom Eaton, in addition to being a world-class multi-instrumentalist, is the co-producer and engineer on most of the recent Will Ackerman projects, and has a number of solo recordings, some of which we have reviewed in these pages. Oster is also featured on a number of Carl Weingarten releases we have reviewed here. At the time of this recording, Oster, Eaton, and Downes would be collectively known as Departure, and (even though having only played as such twice previously) would also perform their improvised set on the Echoes show the same night as FLOW. “Unexpected Guest” opens their set with a sprawling ten minute number featuring Eaton doubling on bass and keyboards, Downes on electric guitar, and Oster on trumpet, a gentle and ever-expanding piece that surely sounds more composed than improvised, but nonetheless exceptional, with each of the three master musicians taking their turn in the spotlight. With their second track, “Summiting,” the trio drift into surreal atmospherics that offer a shimmering alternative to their opening move, with Oster’s trumpet sounding especially cavernous over the piece’s nine minutes as it dances with Downes’ elastic guitar. Sadly, that’s all there is, nineteen minutes only, Departure’s only recording to date, but certainly worthy of attention.

Filed under: New releases, 2024 releases, 2017 recordings

Related artist(s): Tom Eaton, Vin Downes, Jeff Oster

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