The much beloved “String Trio of New York” commemorate their twenty plus years in the business with this 1998 release titled, Faze Phour: A Twenty Year Retrospective
. Bassist John Lindberg and guitarist James Emery have been blazing these vivacious trails of modern jazz for many years as their respective resumes performing with the likes of Anthony Braxton, Marty Ehrlich, Eric Watson and others serve as testaments to their highly literate jazz vernaculars. Here, along with the extremely talented violinist Diane Monroe who now holds the quite estimable violin chair previously held by Billy Bang, Charles Burnham and Regina Carter, the band performs a series of original compositions along with a few jazz standards thrown into the vibrant mix.
The proceedings get off to a congenial and playfully boisterous start with John Lindberg’s composition titled, “Frozen Ropes” as the musicians perform with gusto, verve and tenacity. Here and throughout, Ms. Monroe exhibits her extraordinary range as a soloist and keen sensibilities as a jazz technician. With James Emery’s “The Pursuit of Happiness” the soloist’s craft shrewdly executed linear and unison lines augmented by Lindberg’s seemingly impossible pulse amid furious activity atop an endearing melody. The musicians perform a bluesy version of Duke’s “In A Sentimental Mood” while continuing their virtuosity on Mingus’ Pitheeanthropus Erectus” featuring James Emery’s masterful reworking of the main theme while concurrently handling the rhythms. Ms. Monroe’s piece, “Groovin’ Roots” boasts a memorable melody along with Emery’s devastating blues lines and the composer’s tumultuous yet extremely effective soloing.
Faze Phour: A Twenty Year Retrospective serves as a noteworthy glimpse of an ever evolving band who seldom if ever become reticent or complacent about their combined efforts as a working unit. Innovative, stylish and unpredictable are a few characterizations that come to mind. Essentially, the “String Trio Of New York” spawn a mark of distinction while providing the receptive listener with much to get excited about..........! * * * * ½