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Vin Downes / Jeff Oster / Tom Eaton — Seven Conversations
(Bandcamp no#, 2024, DL)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2024-05-13

Seven Conversations Cover art

In March of this year I ended my review of the trio’s previous release, then known as Departure (a live recording from John Diliberto’s Echoes radio show in 2017) thusly: “Sadly, that’s all there is, nineteen minutes only, Departure’s only recording to date, but certainly worthy of attention.” The improvisational chemistry and telepathy was certainly alive on that recording. Only weeks later I learned from Mr. Eaton that the trio was working on some new music that was nearing release, and would be a full length recording this time. Seven Conversations has now arrived, this time the protagonists have chosen to use their real names in lieu of Departure or any other band label, though its magical qualities are certainly just as powerful seven years on, and this time it’s available as a limited edition compact disc also. Jeff Oster, with half a dozen solo releases and countless credits, plays trumpet and flugelhorn; Vin Downes, an associate of Will Ackerman, Michael Manring, and other Windham Hill artists, plays electric guitar throughout; Tom Eaton, who has at least a couple dozen solo releases, plays the keyboards, bass, loops, and programming. The music on the seven pieces herein is spontaneous composition, or as we more often say improvisations, though these three have played together enough times this way that it seems completely natural and effortless, as if it were fully composed and pre-arranged as such. The keyboards and guitars form a wonderous backdrop together, while most often it’s Oster taking the lead role as soloist in a heavily effected dreamy studio setting, almost as if these guys are playing at the edge of a great canyon with a limitless amount of reverb. With Downes and Eaton taking solo spots as well, track depending, it all contributes formidably to the panoramic variety of colorful imagery, instrumental warmth, and shimmering power that each piece releases in a very natural and organic way. Seven Conversations makes for a majestic and mind-opening collection of pieces that generate further interest with each subsequent play.

Filed under: New releases, 2024 releases

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

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