Phillip Greenlief’s Lost Trio operates somewhere between tradition and trouble. His lineup of saxophone plus Dan Seamans (bass) and Tom Hassett (drums) is augmented on this 2-CD live recording with guitarist Adam Levy. Levy is a member of Greenlief’s other band, the drummer-less Trio Putanesca. This, the third Lost Trio record with Rememberance of Songs Past
and Live At Yoshi’s
coming before, expands the groups possibilities. While speaking jazz quietly, the band carries a big schtick, regularly covering Hank Williams, Mel Tillis, Nina Rota, and Thelonious Monk.
Please don’t be misled into thinking the band makes music with an irreverent attitude. They do exactly the opposite, elevating “I’m So Lonely I Could Cry” to the same pinnacle as the disc’s opener, “Body & Soul.” For a generation (or two) of new jazz listeners, both songs carry the same familiar weight. They begin Billy Strayhorn’s “Lush Life” at a rapid clip with Greenlief rushing through the melody only to pause and for a loitering guitar solo by Levy. Greenlief replies with his languid tenor as if to acknowledge the emotion and majesty of this Ellington staple. The disc ends with Hank Williams’ “I’m So Lonely I Could Cry.” Adam Levy applying the twang of country to the swing that is jazz. The musicians meet country music where it intersects with jazz; at the crossroad named blues. Greenlief has no trouble bridging the sound of Ben Webster to Sonny Rollins. The appeal of these discs is that the band enters the house of traditional jazz by crawling through a window. Like the two-saxophone colossus mentioned above Greenlief and this special band never discriminate between popular music be it jazz, country, or Tin Pan Alley. A highly recommended recording.