Lucid Culture


CD Review: American Waltz by 3Play+

All over the stylistic map, this collection of jarring segues and first-rate melodies by the new group 3Play+ positions keyboardist/composer Josh Rosen somewhere between the Americana jazz of Bill Frisell (notably the deceptively simple title track, which becomes less simple and absolutely gorgeous as it gets going) and maybe Danny Elfman. Rosen’s compositions are considerably more sophisticated, but throughout this mix of alternately melodic and more tonally abstruse jazz , there’s a recurrent tv theme sensibility ranging from sly and funny to warmly, indelibly tuneful. To pull it off, Rosen has assembled a first-class band including the reliably counterintuitive George Garzone on tenor, Phil Grenadier on trumpet, Mick Goodrick on guitar, Lello Molinari on bass and Marcello Pellitteri on drums.

Garzone is his usual surprising self, taking a briefly haunting, modal turn on the cd’s second cut, Buttah – a Sonny Rollins revision – then turning it inside out, fluid and optimistic. The vivid nocturnal ballad How Do I Know What I Don’t Know has Rosen playing comforable, Floyd Cramer-inflected country lines to which he adds a subtle undercurrent of disquiet. Another ballad, the aptly titled Old Fashioned mines a vintage fifties cool jazz vibe with Grenadier out front, expansive and soulful, Molinari’s bass establishing a striking Indian-inflected riff as it winds to a conclusion.

Part boogie, part latin, Soupy’s Comin’ Home works electric versus acoustic piano, morphing into a brisk, bracing walk around the block. The cd ends on something of an Abbey Road feel with the twenty-minute Bulletrain, which is anything but speeding: it has the feel of a bunch of catchy, unrelated choruses mashed together, kicking off with the subtlest of lower-register melodies that bursts into flame triumphantly as it finally gets going, eventually linked by a reggae vamp. In between, there’s a pointed conversation between Grenadier and Garzone, some horror-movie cadences, a little swinging blues and some understatedly Middle Eastern-tinged guitar from Goodrick. It’s an appropriately multistylistic , hypnotically captivating way to end an intriguing and rewarding effort. Headphones are a must – and not those lame little earbud thingys either.

June 9, 2009 Posted by | Music, music, concert, review, Reviews | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment