When my mother gets into my car, she without fail tells me to “turn off the noise” –noise referring to absolutely any music playing, unless it’s a Beatles song. But this time, I had The Bridge Trio’s self-titled debut album going, even on a moderate volume level (I think it was at 4!), and she not only refrained from complaining but also asked who the artist was. That’s not to say their music is for moms only. I only meant to illustrate that, beyond being a jazz piano trio, their music subtly and intelligently bridges (no pun intended) lots of music gaps and has the ability to appeal to many different types of music listeners… including a half-assed wannabe indie know-it-all and her anti-music mother.
When chatting with two of the trio’s members, drummer Joe Dyson and bassist Max Moran, their music vision becomes clear. “It embodies all of our experiences, because it’s based in jazz, but it also has a lot of influences in R&B, bounce, electronic, rock, and gospel,” Joe says. “I think it’s a great first statement for us because it captures the interactions that we have, the conversations and chemistry that we have on stage.”
The Bridge Trio is steeped in New Orleans, born out of the swampy pits of the 504 and making its way through Snug Harbor, Sweet Lorraine’s and Louisiana Music Factory. They all attended NOCCA, and began playing together as a band their senior year of high school. It was meant to be. Seriously, the amount of bro-love between Max and Joe is obvious in real life, so I can only imagine what their musical interaction is like when they’re in the zone on stage. “In my head, I was like, man, I want to start a band with these guys,” Joe openly admits, recounting the first time he saw Max and Connun play.
And the amount of dedication they put forth makes me wish I had that much passion for something. The trio’s pianist, Connun Pappas, lives and works in New York. He flies down about once a month and they schedule as many gigs as they can while he is down here. They all have side projects, solo careers, and other big aspirations, but it doesn’t take away from their devotion to The Bridge Trio. In fact, they have plans for the immediate and long-term future, and want to take it all over the world. “We want to take it on the road, take it international. And we will,” Max says. They already have their first festival date booked in Rochester, New York, at the Rochester International Jazz Festival, and are looking around for gigs in Canada.
They manage their own Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook page, and website to get the word out about their shows, which if you have ever met a real artist, self-promotion is a struggle. Max says, “Sometimes, I don’t touch Facebook for two or three days, which is almost unheard of for our generation. It’s hard for us to talk about ourselves… But sometimes, we have to get our Kanye on.” And it seems to be working from the positive local support they have received. There’s a lot of encouragement from WWOZ, Peaches Record Store, and even DJ Soul Sister, to name a few, and that’s just in the generally amicable New Orleans atmosphere. They’ve been playing on a national front, and someone has even told them they heard them in the UK.
Whatever their success, which hopefully continues, they have plans to stick together for the long run. They have come this far, maneuvering the trials of distance and time. Max says, “Five years from now, we won’t know where we’ll be. But wherever we are, we’re still going to be making music together.”