Thursday, May 3, 2018

The Ben Geyer Trio - The Acadian Orogeny (May 17, 2018)

I finished composing this album’s title piece the day before I migrated from my New Hampshire hometown to a new life in Kentucky, but it found its name more recently, thanks to a geologist friend. The Acadian orogeny, he pointed out, is a mountain moving event stretching along the path of that move. His suggestion brought me back to my little blue two-door hatchback, bulging with all my possessions, as it rolled through the 375-million-year-old echo of shifting rock. 

Funny—the title clarified something for me that I hadn’t heard in the piece… or maybe the piece morphed in my mind to embody its title. But the topography of the piece—the peaks and valleys, slopes and cliffs—became suddenly salient. These were, I realized, metaphors for my nomadic journey, never living in the same place for more than a few years, always chasing the next thing. I’ve since found a more permanent home (in Georgia), but this album is an artifact of my winding past. 

The album’s five original pieces, originating between 2006 and 2014, create topographies of all sorts. Each constrains the musicians differently, sending us on different kinds of terrains. “Reminiscing” and “The Acadian Orogeny” are hikes: we create the vivid details of the landscape as we follow a predetermined path. “Movable Cogs” is a crawl through the daily grind until we break away, eventually returning home to find ourselves transformed.

The other pieces are quick laps around a track. “High Tide” and “Five-Tone Blues” are old favorites composed during college, revisited over the years, and finally recorded here. John Coltrane’s “Giant Steps,” the only track I didn’t compose, is a perennial challenge: a practice piece for years, but never just for practice. 

The band —bassist Peter Dominguez and drummer Zaire Darden— handled these challenges with incredible grace: always present in the moment, yet always ready for the next turn in the road. They helped me turn roadmaps into journeys, sometimes navigating and sometimes driving. Unlike my solo drive along the Acadian orogeny years ago, this journey was made all the better by the people I took along for the ride.

1. Reminiscing 05:58
2. High Tide 07:43
3. Giant Steps (John Coltrane) 05:40
4. Movable Cogs 08:41
5. The Acadian Orogeny 07:14
6. Five-Tone Blues 06:17

Peter Dominguez, bass
Zaire Darden, drums