The Marvelous MOD Trio Hamilton Center for the Arts Hosts Live Band

Jaime Gellman

With a several minute drum solo followed by a steady bass rhythm and then a pair of wildly moving piano fingers, the MOD Trio began their set at the Hamilton Center for the Arts this past Saturday night.

The band’s name, “MOD,” has two distinct meanings. First and foremost, it is an anagram of the band members’ last names (Max McKee on the bass, Jim O’Mahoney on the piano and Josh Dekaney on the drums); MOD also represents the group’s contemporary music choices. The trio mainly played jazz music and they did a great job of intertwining slow and fast songs so that the crowd never lost interest. At one point in the performance, Dekaney could be seen transitioning from a quick, pounding drum beat to a rhythm so quiet that he had to switch to drum sticks that appeared to have feathers on the ends.

I was quite impressed with their music on many levels. Each song they played lasted close to ten minutes and yet the crowd was continuously riveted, which is a great feat on its own. I will readily admit that I spent most of the set watching O’Mahoney’s fingers scramble up and down the piano with lightning speed, carrying the tune of many of the songs.

One of the highlights of the performance was when the trio played Ellie Goulding’s song “Lights.” They effectively mixed the song with music of their own, creating a brilliant combination of current popular music and their own distinctive jazz sound. I particularly enjoyed how, throughout the performance, the MOD Trio was able to repeat this effect. It was quite amazing to be able to pick out the tune of a popular song in one second, and then in the next to lose it beneath the band’s original jazz compositions and improvisations. The group also did an excellent rendition of “Get Back” by the Beatles, again adding their own beats and rhythms in tune, but always coming back to the original artist.

Another song that I particularly enjoyed was one that was written by McKee. The bass player’s song transitioned from moments of quick-paced rhythms to slow, hypnotic beats. At some points during that particular song, yet also in performance in general, it became difficult to distinguish between what was an improvisation and what was an actual scripted song. The music fit together perfectly like an already written song, yet at the same time appeared naturally beautiful in a way that only improvisation can accomplish.

Not only was the music brilliantly entertaining, but the Hamilton Center for the Arts was also a wonderful place to spend the evening. As a first-timer to the center, I was impressed by the quaint atmosphere of the room. There were small tables set up with tablecloths, chairs and little flowers everywhere. At the head of the room, surrounded by a string of Christmas lights, was the stage. With McKee in the center playing his red bass, O’Mahoney and his fingers moving up and down the piano on the right and Dekaney constantly creating intricate drum beats on the left side of the stage, the entire atmosphere was absolutely perfect for a relaxing night of jazz.