By Izzy Yellen
As the 2015 school year came to a close, Good Trouble—also known as Combo One of 2014-15—recorded their self-titled debut album. The album—completely made up of original compositions—featured alumnus Jack Lussenden ’15 on drums, junior Jakob Heinemann on bass, alumnus Jonathan Fagan ’15 on piano, junior Sam Genualdi on guitar, senior Will Fraser on alto sax, senior Carson Caldart on tenor sax and alumnus Ben Phillips ’15 on trumpet. The album was released on July 11, 2015.
The brilliance of “Good Trouble” was not just in the fact that it was entirely original, but also that every musician approached each tune, whether it was theirs or not, with sophistication and emotion. With conviction, each player painted a beautiful, intricate picture together. That picture varied from piece to piece, but was always sure to amaze.
While the infectious energy and beauty of collaboration was evident throughout, the album still contained a wide variety of eclectic jazz. This was mostly due to the various composers. Even so, each composer brought many styles, jazz and not, together in their respective pieces to produce a truly unique and fresh album.
Favorite tracks of mine were “Wall Drug” by Fraser, “Sal” by Genualdi, “Bougie” by Phillips, “Falling Inwards” by Heinemann, “Legacy” by Fagan and “I saw my dead dog the other day” by Lussenden. While these all stood out as highlights, the whole album remained cohesive and interesting.
I do not typically have a single favorite from an album, but “Sal” really resonated with me due to the feeling behind it. Written by Genualdi soon after his grandfather passed away, the composition is not only a record of how he felt at the time but also an extremely personal way of sharing with countless listeners how he felt, and still feels.
Regardless of knowing all the stories and sentiments that inspired each tune, the album as a whole often promoted the feeling of nostalgia and caused me to ponder the impact of the past. While most of these stories are unique to each composer, they all shared the loss of late Director of Jazz and Improvisational Music Fred Sturm. They commemorated him with the entire album, but most notably with Fagan’s tune “Legacy,” which is heavily inspired by Sturm’s compositions.
“Good Trouble” is without a doubt an incredible culmination of what several students have learned here thus far, but also a promising indication of what each musician will continue to do, whether they’re still at Lawrence or not. Despite them going their separate ways, I know they will continue to do great things musically.
You can find the album here at <https://goodtrouble.bandcamp.com/releases>.