By Grayson Ruhl
On Friday, February 27, Sewanee experienced the return of the Kash Wright Trio in Guerry Auditorium during their free concert, which was open to the public. An attentive audience, seated on the stage with the band, thoroughly enjoyed the smooth and melodious music that the Trio played. The Kash Wright Trio focuses on classic jazz, but the band also creates marvelous interpretations of music from famous popular artists such as the Goo Goo Dolls and Michael Jackson.
Each member of the Trio was a master of his craft: Prakash Wright was in touch with the grand piano in such a way that his playing was totally fluid; Mike Montgomery’s mastery of the bass was essential in creating rhythms with the piano’s melody, and he even created his own melody from time to time; Bobby Beall’s skills on the drum led the Trio with intricate beats, and he kept the audience attentive with his many sforzandos, which are sudden and powerful emphases. The texture of each instrument was smooth and rich, and hearing them together gave listeners goose bumps and an overwhelming feeling of relaxation. The only noise during the concert was from the Trio—either their instruments or their voices—and applause. This made it possible for the members of the Trio to chat with one another, making light jokes and poking fun at one another, and Wright sometimes would speak directly to the audience. This was a refreshing experience, because it was understood that we would be focusing only on their musical talent—the crowd was fully devoted to appreciating the music. The audience, having been encouraged to make as few distractions as possible, respected the nature of this venue. Thus, one could really focus on the texture of each instrument and feel how smooth and refined their collective harmony was.
The Kash Wright Trio’s goal was to give listeners something to take away from the concert and make the musical experience unforgettable. The band certainly accomplished this with songs like “Sundara,” with its beautiful chord progressions and deep, resonating groove that surrounded the audience, or with “Amethyst,” which provided a smooth and soothing jam. They captivated the audience with their incredible cover of “Iris” by the Goo Goo Dolls. Forestry Professor Ken Smith commented that it would be great for Sewanee to have some sort of blues and jazz program so that students could practice this excellent form of music. The crowd was left transformed by this amazing musical experience, even those having listened for only one of the two sets that the Kash Wright Trio played.