“If you have the means, I definitely recommend giving Avenue B a spin and seeing what journeys you’ll go on with Steve Haskin, who is quickly becoming a new favorite of fine arts intellectuals from coast to coast. And after seeing some of the commercial garbage that Hollywood is bringing to local theaters this summer, it’s albums like this one that will be the saving grace of the 2018 arts year.”
– Michael Rand, MobAngeles.com
“This album is a without a doubt a guitar purist’s fantasy with all of its splendorous notation and relentless riffing, but anyone who loves an exhibition in musical skill will find something to love here regardless of background.”
– Kevin Bennington, Skope Mag
“Young artists and music fans alike would do well to pick up Avenue B when it drops in May, as it is a confident, dexterous and most rewarding 40 minute look into the broad spectrum of cultures that music can unite with the right arrangement of notes strung together. Just in the time that I’ve been writing this article and listening to Steve Haskin’s extended catalogue, I’ve been compelled to ponder why more of the Billboard charts don’t reflect this kind of dedication in their top singles. Maybe it’s because the kind of exceptional skill and talent that Haskin has are not as easy to come by as they’d have you think.”
– Giles Chapin, Vents Magazine
“If there is one recommendation I have for folks who are going to give Steve Haskin’s Avenue B a shot, which I thoroughly recommend everyone does, it is that because of this record’s charming anthological format, try not to listen to it while driving. The risk of falling into a trance from the album’s flawless dancing from one melody to the next is enough to distract anyone from the world for a little while.”
– Mindy McCall, No Depression, The Journal of Roots Music
“The overwhelming theme hanging over all of these questions and inward searching that Avenue B inspires is simple; some emotions and questions have absolutely no means of being expressed in the human language. That’s where the music comes in. The notation is the lyric, the harmonics are the voices proclaiming that the prisoners have been freed. There is something utterly divine about music that speaks to our soul without any assistance of a poet. Steve Haskin has flawlessly created an impeccable demonstration of just what music can accomplish when it’s given a platform all its own.”
– Thomas Patton, III, GasHouse Radio
AUSTIN RIO TRIO - Staright to the Top
Someone once asked me what the difference was between playing standards and playing covers. I replied that if you were taking familiar themes and reinterpreting them, breathing in new life, opting for new approaches and updated attitudes then you’re playing standards. If you were sucking all the soul and swagger out of a half-baked rendition of Mustang Sally because you saw it in the film The Commitments, then you are playing covers. Rio Trio are all about the former.
They wander between almost classical realms and cool, latin jazz, taking in both expected titles and interesting, not to mention surprising, choices…a flute led version of Nature Boy was as unexpected as it was charming! There is a wonderful delicacy to what they do which comes in part from their clever and spacious arrangements but mainly because of their deftness and economy when deciding where and when to play. And that is the art of it really, particularly when you have three such virtuosic players. No one gets in each others way allowing everyone to step in and out of the limelight in equal measure.
A gorgeous, tranquil and understated album if ever there was one.
Dave Franklin Dancing About Architecture Blog – “Rescuing musical virtue in distress”
“I’ve also always loved Brazilian music and this album captures so many aspects that attracted me to that style in the first place. This album also reminded me of Madredeus which is one of my favorite musical ensembles of all time.
The trio is extremely talented in a number of ways. It didn’t take much time at all for me to realize the technical skill of the band. The performances are nuanced, dynamic and crisp. I appreciate technical skill but it’s not the end all be all. When I listen to music I have to find the aesthetics, the patterns of energy, the creativity and perhaps the most importantly the emotion. Rio Trio doesn’t disappoint in these areas either.
There was a mix of emotions I was getting when listening. The one I keep coming back to is how soothing and comfortable it made me feel. The flute felt like it was wisping away on the opener “Footprints” and the acoustic guitar and percussion were so locked with each it felt like one instrument.”
– Matt Jensen – Divide and Conquer Blog To read the rest of the article and listen to the album Click Here
“A trio consisting of Sarah Jane Hargis on flute/bass flute, Steve Haskin handling classical guitar and A.J. Montrose holding down bongos and hand percussion, Rio Trio reinvent classic songs while also fleshing out Haskin’s original tunes, and with plenty of esteemed classical, jazz and Brazilian sounds in attendance.
After the playful and cultured “Footprints” opens up the album, “Agua De Beber” finds a calming place to reside with intricate flute from Hargis while the lively percussion from Montrose certainly adds much to the equation.
Deeper into the listen, guitars become the focus of the classically influenced “Crystal Silence”, while “Look To The Sky” unfolds with cascading beauty amid flute acrobatics and strong rhythm. “My Little Boat”, one of the best tunes present, then flows with dynamic musicianship between the three with incredible melody and soprano sax from Tony Bray.
At the end, “Lucky Southern” showcases the fantastic prowess of Haskin in the upbeat setting, and “Wave” ends the listen adventurous and instantly memorable with Alex Coke’s contributions on bass flute.
An entirely instrumental listen that pulls in ideas from around the globe, Straight To The Top, while being largely rooted in Latin jazz, is ultimately a world music album like nothing you’ve heard before, and you’ll certainly want to hear it again.”
-Tom Haugen – Take Effect Reviews
“The dynamic sounds from the array of instruments are well conducted as the chilling piece of musical masterpiece. A fine specimen that could pass for any Jazz score arranged by the legendary producer, Quincy Jones, during his jazzy days.”
– Chinedu Inyamah – TopAfric To read more and see the video Click Here
STRAIGHT TO THE TOP – “FOOTPRINTS” CUT