New York City’s PROJECT Trio gave a fitting send-off to this year’s Harker Concert Series season tonight, with a fun and exhilarating set at the Patil Theater that drew upon many diverse influences. Flautist (and YouTube sensation) Greg Pattillo, cellist Eric Stephenson and bassist Peter Seymour showed the results of their classical training by opening with a piece by Russian composer Mikhail Glinka, reimagined by the group as a jazz-funk romp punctuated by Pattillo’s beatboxing technique, which he employed throughout the show. They followed up with the highly familiar motif from Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, which also incorporated the band’s deep appreciation for jazz, highlighted by Pattillo’s soloing. Stephenson remarked on how PROJECT Trio offered the unique opportunity to play music not normally considered for “classical” instruments, as the group dove into Charlie Parker’s “Yardbird Suite,” each member soloing tastefully and with reverence for the great bebop saxophonist.
Returning from the intermission, the audience was soon treated to PROJECT Trio’s retelling of Prokofiev’s “Peter and the Wolf,” with the setting moved to present-day Brooklyn and the music following the band’s approach to reinterpreting cherished works. Narration was provided by the band, as members interjected amusingly throughout the piece, one of the favorites of the night. They closed their set with “The Bodega,” a rousing salsa number no doubt inspired by the many convenience stores for which their home of New York City is famous.