Expansive Improvisations With A Hook


Jazz and other improvisational forms of music can be an incredibly divisive subject for music listeners. For some, long drawn-out solos and ample instrumental jamming can take them on an intense musical journey that changes with every concert. For others, jamming immediately causes the eyes to glaze over and drool to drip from their mouths. Denver based jam/jazz ensemble Coexistence Trio bridges this gap of extensive improvisation with melodies that hooks the audiences in tight.

Coexistence Trio consists of CU Denver Piano Area Head Peter Stoltzman (piano), John Grigsby (bass), and Andreas Schmid (drums). The group began after Stoltzman, Schmid, and Grisby began jamming together for fun. The group would run through charts together and dabble in each other’s songs. The turning point was when they began writing songs together. “One day we decided to improvise freely,” Stoltzman said. “That’s where the magic happened for us. I said ‘oh man! This is the band!’ ” Thus began the six-month journey of writing and practicing that lead Coexistence to develop six original songs and a refined sound.

The trio secured a residency at DazzleJazz every Wednesday night throughout the month of March to hone  their sound and earn some credit to put towards creating their album. “We had the idea to play the residency, save some of the money from it and do a studio session.” Stoltzman said. The idea propelled Coexistence to enter  Mighty Fine Production Studios earlier this year to record their debut album Momentum Forward.

Then creating the songs for the new album the modern-jazz powerhouse trio started with small nuggets of ideas like a series of chords or a drum beat and cultivate those ideas into a rhythmic menagerie of auditory paintings and improvisations. “Normally I have an intention for a vibe, and that can be an emotional vibe or it can be more abstract,” Stolzman said. “And there are certain kinds of chords or progressions that will express that.”

Coexistence Trio’s sound tightly packages the rhythmic and harmonic complexity in a way that’s digestible for all types of music lovers. Every tune feels like a workshop in high-level musicianship that’s accessible in sound without compromising the emotional impact of the song. “We cross genres from the jam to the jazz side of things,” Stoltzman said of their cross-pollinating sound.

For Coexistence, playing gigs and reaching a wider audience are the next steps. Every musician knows that the task of gaining a large fan-base is essential to success in the music industry. While playing sonically explosive sounds might be the most paramount goal, few musicians get farther than playing to their dirty lawnmowers.

The members of Coexistence Trio aim to prove their passion for the craft not only in their playing, but also in how they present themselves onstage.  “I haven’t had a band like this, that I am genuinely stoked about in a while,” Stoltzman said. “I am just genuinely excited about this band, and that’s a cool thing: you want to nurture that when you find it.” Hot off the release show for Momentum Forward, the trio is aiming to keep the momentum rolling and take the Denver jazz scene by storm.

Dylan Streight
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