on CAP records

The Nick Moran Trio's debut cd The Messenger finds New York-based guitarist and composer Nick Moran in the classic organ trio setting. Together with sidemen Ed Withrington on organ and Andy Watson on drums the ensemble develops some very original and contemporary themes with the fire and finesse of a working band.

Throughout this exciting, all-originals set the band explores a wide range of styles, playing bebop, funk and modal jazz with an uncanny level of awareness and communication. Moran digs in and plays the blues on the funk opener Papa George as Withrington and Watson stoke the flame. The group also becomes lyrical on Indigo City, colored by Andy's sensitive brush work. The listener is transitioned from mood to mood with ease.

Moran's compositions display a deep understanding of melody and harmony, and his surprising forms provide the medium for his band to open up and express itself. The drums swing hard on the modal cooker Sensory Awakening while Ed shows a modern, Larry Young-style influence in his comping. The extended blues form of That Greasy Stuff, with its funky bass line and brief swing section culminates in a thrilling drum solo by Watson. Every tune is a well-polished jewel.

Nick's touch on guitar is unique, his solos logical and inspired. He plays with gentle understatement on The Secret Life, using space and motifs against the marching snare drum. The melody, searing solo and Jimmy Page-style rhythm guitar on Shorter Steps betray Moran's rock roots and his way of incorporating them into a jazz setting. On each cut Nick plays with clear intention, drawing the listener in with his organized improvisations and compelling sound.

About the sidemen:

Pianist and organist Ed Withrington is a talented young keyboard player much in demand on the New York scene both with his trio and as a sideman. His musical influences include the folkloric music from his native Argentina, as well as European classical music and jazz. Most notably, as an organist, he was part of the house band in Harlem's popular weekly jam sessions at the American Legion. Withrington was born in Cordoba, Argentina in 1976, but spent his childhood in both Scotland and Mexico. In 1985 his family returned to Argentina, where he received formal classical and jazz training. In 1997 he moved to New York to expand his knowledge of jazz by attending the City College of New York where he studied with Mike Longo and Ron Carter. He also obtained a Master's degree from Queens College where he studied with Antonio Hart and Bruce Barth. Withrington cites Bill Evans, Larry Young, Herbie Hancock, and Pat Metheny as his primary influences.

Drummer Andy Watson has been a fixture on the New York jazz scene for fifteen years. He has performed and recorded with numerous artists including Toshiko Akiyoshi, Bill Frisell, Benny Golson Jim Hall, Tom Harrell, Jon Hendricks, Woody Herman, Joe Lovano, Wynton Marsalis, Marian McPartland, James Moody, Mike Stern and Lew Tabackin. As a member of Jim Hall's trio, Watson played on the critically acclaimed recording Dialogues. Recent releases include Toshiko Akiyoshi's Hiroshima: Rising from the Abyss, Jim Hall's compilation set Downbeat Critic's Choice, and the Telarc compilations, Jazz: Live From New York, and Triple Play: Live From the Blue Note. Watson has toured extensively throughout the United States, Europe, Japan, and South America, appearing at many of the major festivals: Monterey Jazz Festival, Ravinia, JVC New York, Playboy Jazz Fest, JVC Saratoga, Zurich Jazz Festival, and the Vienna Jazz Festival. A native of Greenville, SC, Watson attended the University of South Carolina.