Trinidelphia, Philadelphia’s four-man steel drum combo, started with street jam sessions in Rittenhouse Square back in 2005. “We played some Beatles tunes, were getting some 10s and 20s thrown our way, and over the years we’ve just grown and grown,” explains bandleader Chris Aschman. Since then, the group has expanded to become Philly’s preeminent Carribbean music ensemble. Aschman describes the group’s unique island sound as a “perfect mix between American jazz, funk, Trinidadian soca, and calypso”.
Aschman’s affinity for the Trinidadian genre was initially developed during his high school days in his Maryland hometown. He was a member of a 25-man steel band, whose director invited guest Trinidadian musicians to play with the band each season. “I had a chance to learn from many of the great Trinidadian arrangers,” expresses Aschman passionately. “It’s been really gratifying to pass along this experience to fellow jazz musicians here in Philly.”
Ian Rafalak on bass and Joe Truglio on drums form the rhythm section, which can handle a range of rhythmic styles including soca, calypso, reggae, afro-cuban, ska, samba, funk, and jazz. Trinidelphia can be best described as a group of talented “interpreters”, striving to dream up new and exciting arrangements of classic songs. “We want to play music that people know, but want to present it in a different light,” explains bandleader Chris. “We’ll take a Neil Young song and give it a new twist…We want to make people aware of the endless possibilities music can offer.” Aschman also attributes a good amount of Trinidelphia’s success to their primary booking agent, Scott Vattima of Emerge Artist Development, who has connected them to a lot of great opportunities at the New Jersey Shore.
Members of Trinidelphia have performed at world-renowned venues such as the Kimmel Center’s Verizon Hall, Carnegie Hall, and the Blue Note. They have toured the world with various groups and have at times backed up stars such as Chaka Kahn, Dionne Warwick, Stanley Clarke, Joe Piscopo, Wayne Brady, Bonnie Raitt, Tina Marie, and Bill Withers.
Now celebrating their 7th year, Trinidelphia has recently released its debut self-titled album. After committing ninety four hours in the studio and selecting nine tracks from their extensive two hundred-song repertoire, the members of Trinidelphia have received rave reviews of their debut CD. Brent Black of criticaljazz.com states, “There is an amazing vitality to this release and the arrangements from tenor steelpan, trumpet, and flugelhorn phenom Chris Aschman are simply spot on, as tight and well crafted as any you will hear from a similar ensemble. ” “Trinidelphia”(2013) is currently available for purchase at www.trinidelphia.com.
For a taste of Trinidelphia’s ground-breaking island sound, catch them in live in concert 5-9 PM on July 7th, July 21st, August 4th, and August 18th at Cape May’s Beach Shack Resort. Trinidelphia has also performed at a wide variety of functions including wedding receptions, cocktail hours, community concerts, casino events, backyard parties, birthdays, school assemblies, and parades. For booking information, please Contact Scott Vattima at 609-742-4110.
By Megan Kummer