Review of Awake – Scott Yanow, All Music Guide

All Music Guide

This is an excellent trio outing (with guests) by pianist Travis Shook that sat on the shelf for five years before finally being released. Shook’s style sometimes hints at McCoy Tyner (particularly in the chord voicings) but is mostly pretty original, with driving uptempo pieces and a few more introspective explorations. Most of the selections are by the core trio with tenor-saxophonist Kebbi Williams making the group a quartet on a modernized version of “Broadway,” and both Williams and trombonist Ron Westray helping out on “Counterblues.” 

Veronica Nunn sings during the latter part of an uptempo version of Bob Dorough’s “Nothing Like You.” There is enough variety throughout this set to keep one’s interest throughout, and it consistently showcases Travis Shook at his best. The pianist recorded three albums within a three-day period in 2000 and Awake is the second one to be released thus far; what took so long?

— Scott Yannow