The trio format

I would go so far as to say that the trio format is my favourite playing mode. I mean, guitar, bass and drums. I will tell you why: because it’s great for improvisation – lots of rooms for everyone to stretch out without the risk of stepping on other’s toes. As a guitarist, it means not being relegated to the role of comping (or ‘rhythm’ guitarist, if you prefer) behind a lead instrument that can’t do much else. And without another chordal instrument, it means there’s no compromise. Often what can happen is that the guitarist will defer to the keyboardist and it inevitably means having one’s wings clipped a bit.

Of course, it can be a challenge to get it to sound good – full sounding without unnecessary emptiness. It takes a certain approach – whether it’s Jazz, Rock, Blues or whatever…But the challenge is a good one. Whilst I would never knock large ensembles – because they are great too – who wants to be just a small cog in the wheel if you know what I mean?

Give me a trio format any day – it’s the best!

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