the paul abella trio

The Paul Abella Trio is  an instrumental ensemble led by, you guessed it, Paul Abella. Existing in some form or another since 2006, The Paul Abella Trio has made a name for itself by embracing a free wheeling approach towards its choice in song material and for finding unique ways to weave the cajon (a Peruvian box drum) into Jazz. 

Look past the off-kilter instrumentation and the oddball setlists, and you’ll see a band upholding a tradition of Jazz as subversive party music. Drawing inspiration from Eddie Harris, Medeski, Martin & Wood, The Bad Plus, and Lester Bowie, they fuse Pop melodies, Jazz harmonies, Brazilian, Afro-Cuban and Funk rhythms, jammy improvisations with punk ferocity.  

Or, as one friend once said, "someone's going to have to invent a whole new genre just to describe you guys." 

The trio got its start in 2006 with guitarist Mitch Corso and bassist Bob Ferraris. Strangely, the original plan was aiming for the sound of the original Nat King Cole Trio: tight ensemble playing, quirky arrangements played at slick tempos and some vocals thrown in for fun. But quickly, three musicians whose love of music was far wider than just Jazz started twisting things in some interesting ways. And soon, that trio that started off playing Caravan and But Not For Me was playing Master of Puppets and Take On Me.

 n 2019, the seeds of a new trio were planted with guitarist Billy Denk and bassist Chris Bernhardt. Playing around the Chicago suburb of Oak Park, it was clear that these three had found something worth working on. Throwing caution to the wind, they let their muses guide them. Original compositions existed alongside music from Pharoah Sanders, Fugazi, Eddie Harris, Black Sabbath, Thelonious Monk and the Grateful Dead. Songs expanded, improvisations got weirder, and the lines between jazz, creative music and jam band blurred to the point where they were no longer discernable.

 In 2022, Denk was bitten by a radioactive spider, and as he told the band, "with great power comes great responsibility." If you see him slinging webs across the skyline, flying from building to building, please, don't be like J. Jonah Jameson. Let him fight crime like the superhero he is.


Dave Miller, Steve Knight: guitars
Chris Bernhardt, Jesse Beilfuss: bass
Paul Abella: cajon/percussion