The first question may well be this: what's the banjo doing in a jazz context? And if that did not cross your mind, it does not matter. What Tricycle has done is to expand, and expound, music that is grounded in bluegrass and country into a larger framework that incorporates the harmonics of jazz and the verve of a happy pop tune. All of it melds well enough.
If there is the certainty of a jazz aesthetic, it comes on "For Joy," where Jayme Stone sets up a bluegrass motif, on top of which Gordon Allen lets his trumpet add the jazz dynamics. Kevin Manaugh weaves harmonic spells on the guitar with thick notes that flesh his improvisations and bring in a bright resonance. There is an undeniable beckoning to "Bedouin Blues." Manaugh sets the tone; his notes have a sharp edge this time and as he roves the landscape he is given the impetus by Kevin Coady on drums and Paul Matthew on bass, with Stone dropping into the conversation to add the blues. "The Roads We Know" brings in several delightful surprises. The first is how to land a reggae rhythm. If that wasn't happy augury enough, Stone straightens it with his bow. His lines curve and curl, and yowl just a little, a tasty harbinger for Manaugh, who gets to the essence of the melody, juices up the lines, and passes it on to Stone and his banjo for some country strut.
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Personnel: Jayme Stone--banjo, bow, loops; Kevin Manaugh--guitars; Kevin Coady--drums and percussion; Paul Mathew--double bass; Special guest Gordon Allen--trumpet