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Standout Track: No. 8, “Eyes on the Horizon,” a gospel-flavored blend of nostalgia, longing, and hope for piano trio. Keyboardist Noble Jolley brings the colors of the church, while his twin brother, drummer Nate, adds a level of sharp hip-hop groove. Meanwhile, bassist Ben Williams punctuates with a nearly vocal inflection, and a full string quartet appears just enough to provide a tinge of sweetness.
Musical Motivation: The Jolleys have a family tradition to uphold. Their father, Noble Sr., was an accomplished jazz guitarist who hung up his axe to raise a family. “He never got to do that big musical project, like a great recording, to express his vision,” says Nate. “That’s part of why we call this album Memoirs Between Brothers—it’s a family affair, the project our dad never got to make.” Noble wrote and arranged “Eyes on the Horizon” based on advice his father gave him as a child and aspiring musician. “I almost didn’t release it,” he recalls. “It was just so different from what I usually do. But Nate insisted that it belonged on the album.”
Bench Player: No surprise that the brothers (and their sister Rashida, a harpist currently touring with Lady Gaga) have been playing since childhood, with the encouragement of their parents. Nate has been holding drumsticks ever since he can remember, but Noble started off playing trumpet. “He was pretty good,” Nate recalls. “But as it turned out, the way he ended up using it was turning his trumpet case into a piano bench. Once we saw that, we knew he was going off in another direction.”
The Jolley Brothers play every Friday through Sunday at B. Smith’s in Union Station.