Garden District Trio, Upward (DHMP Records)

All Original David Hansen

There’s something very comfortable about this recording, almost as if it sparks memories of familiar grooves stored in our collective DNA. Whatever it may be, things are indeed definitely looking upward for David Hansen, who after 25 years has tapped into his muse to deliver a recording of all-original material. The Garden District Trio features Hansen on drums as well as Jordan Baker on piano and Brian Quezergue on bass.

Quezergue kicks things off on “Jump” with a rolling bass line that would fit nicely under the Irma Thomas classic “You Can Have My Husband.” Throughout the record, Quezergue’s electric bass really ebbs and flows as the Garden District Trio traverse the realms of blues, jazz, Latin, funk and classic New Orleans beats in search of rhythms and grooves that serve the music. And speaking of classic New Orleans beats, Hansen delivers a drum intro on “It’s So Clear to Me” that brings to mind the stylings of the late “Smokey” Johnson, who of course worked with Wardell Quezergue, Brian’s father. While the spirit of New Orleans permeates the record—check out “Mardi Gras Day” for the most obvious example—a close listen reveals strains of classic Blue Note recordings and in particular the work of Horace Silver. Jordan Baker, who is featured prominently on Upward, plays with a colorful style that emphasizes the melody and really pushes Hansen’s compositions along. And like Van Gelder’s classic recordings, this one was recorded in another iconic location—Studio in the Country.

Upward is a very accessible recording that shows the melding of what may appear on paper to be disparate styles, but in the hands of the Garden District Trio just sound natural and well-composed.