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Glen Ellyn native releases first album with Fabie Anstee Trio

Published: Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013 11:37 a.m. CDT

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GLEN ELLYN – “Though we wandered throughout our lives, just like gypsies traveling light, we came where every road deep in our hearts, a place we call home.”

These are the opening lyrics of “Home,” the fourth track on Fabie Anstee Trio’s debut album, and the record’s namesake.

“The song ‘Home’ really seems to resonate with all three of us as sort of a perfect telling of our story,” said Rob Anstee, the jazz band’s bass and trumpet player.

Growing up in Glen Ellyn, Anstee always had a passion for music. He plays an array of instruments, including the guitar, piano and drums.

“I was young, very young,” Anstee said. “I started playing trumpet in grammar school and elementary school in Glen Ellyn, and that was probably when I was 9 or 10.”

After majoring in music at the University of Chicago, Anstee and fellow band member Chris Fabie, who have known each other since the 1990s, played in rock bands and worked with other singer-songwriters.

The two eventually drifted apart, but about 1 1/2 years ago, Anstee got a call from Fabie asking him jam with he and his wife, Derbhile.

“It was like seeing an old friend and it was very comfortable,” Anstee said. “Chris and I have known each other for such a long time that there was really no pretense and Derbhile is such a great singer, musician and lyricist that everything just gelled really well.”

That session would lead to the formation of the Fabie Anstee Trio, who compose and perform original songs in the style of early-to-mid twentieth century popular musicians, combining acoustic jazz with improvisational elements.

“It really comes from when we wrote the tunes,” he said. “We workshop them in front of people, so it’s not like we sing, practice and do everything the same way every time. It’s definitely more of an improvisational jazz thing.”

And that’s how Anstee and the rest of the band wrote “Home.” Anstee said he would write a song, then send it over to Derbhile to put words to. After reviewing the piece, the band would workshop the tune live on stage.

“It kind of gives everything a very spontaneous feeling and so the songs came together and sort of document a time in our lives,” he said.

The trio’s next show will take place Dec. 15 at Uncommon Ground, 1401 W. Devon Ave., Chicago.

For Anstee, playing the music he loves with friends truly feels like coming home.

“It’s kind of fun to have an old friend that you can play with and Derbhile is such a great person and musician that playing with them is something I really look forward to,” he said.

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