Trio Elf left me feeling somewhat conflicted. On the one hand I enjoyed their music, particularly their Saturday night set in the Theatre, when they must have played purely on adrenelin, being only hours off a plane ride from Europe. They were certainly a crowd favourite, and were highly praised as a festival highlight in all the reviews that mentioned their sets. Gerwin's anecdotes between sets were quirky and amusing. And yet I couldn't help but feel that their music relied to a considerable extent on reverb, effects and theatrics.
This became clearer on the Sunday night when Walter switched to the Kawai NV10 digital hybrid piano in St Patrick's hall, and he made great use of its digital capabilities. The program described Gerwin as producing "virtuoso drumming sounds like a drum machine come alive" and while this description couldn't be argued with, the more I saw I felt that there could have been more subtlety and variation. Peter on bass was the straight man for me, acting as a foil to the two entertainers on either side of him. Still you can't argue that their effects-based, at times atmospheric, at times frentic music was anything but popular.
Trio Elf (Gerwin Eisenhauer - drums; Walter Lang - piano; Peter Cudek - bass) performing in the WPAC Theatre at the 2018 Wangaratta Festival of Jazz