REVIEW: All About the Trio

Kerrytown Concert House hosts various events including bluegrass, klezmer, string or wind quintets, and various jazz groups. “All About The Trio” is a concert residency hosted by some jazz greats from the Midwest: pianist Ellen Rowe, drummer Sean Dobbins, and bassist Paul Keller. These three are highly respected players in the Detroit jazz scene and beyond. It was a treat to see their trio perform last Sunday. The concert featured the music and legacy of Duke Ellington and proved equally enjoyable and educational. 

The concert featured 7 unique Ellington tunes including Take the A Train, In A Mellotone, In A Sentimental Mood, and Rockin’ in Rhythm to name a few. I enjoyed the set and the choice of tunes. A few I knew and a few I didn’t. I had never been inside this venue before, and I was surprised by the small space. The audience was essentially divided into two groups based on where you were seated in the room. This offered an intimate atmosphere, good for a lively and conversational concert like this one.  The sound was very hot in the room—I heard everyone very well.  

Ethan Moleski from the University of Michigan’s School of Music (BFA Jazz 24’) joined the trio on tenor sax during the middle of the set. Ethan served as a guest artist, playing In A Sentimental Mood in the style of Coltrane and Duke’s 1963 album. Ethan has a lovely sound and is very sensitive to the style of the recording he was working from. A senior in college, Ethan is ahead of his time in improvisational technique, sound, style, and passion. 

As a thoughtful pianist and composer herself, Ms. Rowe interjected with interesting information about Duke Ellington and his specific compositional choices throughout the concert. She informed the audience why Duke made the choices he did compositionally, with extra insight into his improvisational tendencies. I appreciated Rowe’s thoughtful piano playing behind all this information—each aspect she explained was apparent in her playing. She played sensitively to the style of Duke, and each transcription of his improvisational solos was spot on. I enjoyed having many of these tunes backed up with facts beforehand—it offered an informed aspect to the concert experience. I am reminded of these concepts when listening to Duke myself!

There are a plethora of diverse events to see at Kerrytown Concert House. Ellen Rowe’s trio will be back—playing a concert full of holiday fun on December 17th at 2 pm. Student tickets are available at 




Image thanks to Kerrytown Concert House.