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Track Review: Vestbo Trio ‘Tip of the Hat’

The 70’s influenced instrumental track with nods to John Lee Hooker leaves much to be desired.

Did I just land somewhere in the middle of a southern bayou? It’s quite possible after listening to “Tip of the Hat.” I’m honestly waiting around for John Lee Hooker to ask me for a drink.

I took the approach of listening to this song as if it just fell from the sky. As soon as I hit play, my first thought was “Alright, yeah. I like this intro.” But then it just kept going…and going. It didn’t take me long to realize this was an instrumental song and upon further searching, Vestbo Trio is a completely instrumental band. 

I’ll be frank, instrumental music is not my jazz. But I am fully down to listen to an array of music. The drums and guitar are super clear in this song and that doesn’t hinder the quality. But what this song does seem to do, which is bad for this style of music, is wait for a vocalist. 

If I’m listening to an instrumental song then I shouldn’t be wondering where the vocalist is—the instruments should be strong enough to be center stage to the song. The instruments that are present are well crafted into the song, but they’re your basics. Drum, guitar, piano, etc. With the Louisiana vibe this song gives off, expectations of more jazz instruments should be noticeable. 

With the beat giving off Hooker-esque quality, there are also a few points in the song that relate to 70’s era rock. You can hear notes of Led Zeppelin, Fleetwood Mac, and the intro has some connections with Heart’s “Magic Man.” It has just enough of that country twang to it but not overkill where this would be labeled a country song. 

Overall the song isn’t bad… but it’s also not good. It just exists. It could perhaps be useful as background music for a late night study session or sitting around a summer campfire. Aside from that, I’d suggest listening to one of the bands I mentioned previously, at least those songs sound finished. 

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