I’m dying to tell you that I love this recording. But I’m a total failure. We know a recording artist fails when they cannot communicate their musical ideas to their audience. Sadly enough, a music reviewer fails when he/she cannot tell his/her reader why they either love or hate a recording. All I can say is I’ve played nothing but Oddbar Trio’s Lost Art Café
for the past week while driving or showering, and to close friends while driving or showering with them. Maybe my loss comes because I’m not familiar with the prior work of most of the musicians. Brent Sandy (trumpet, flugelhorn, & pocket trumpet), Jim Dreier (drums & percussion) and John Rapson (trombone) are new names to me. Guitarist Grismore recorded two critically acclaimed and hip discs with saxophonist Paul Scea for Accurate Records a few years ago. That was a start, Grismore favors Thelonious Monk in his writing and the band recorded an almost chamber-like adaptation of “Monk’s Mood.” Maybe it is the configuration, since first hearing Ornette Coleman’s piano-less recordings, I’ve gravitated to the space granted when keyboards are absent. Like John Zorn’s News For Lulu recordings with Bill Frisell and George Lewis (Hat Art) the Oddbar Trio barely keeps the lid on a reserved rendition of Sun Ra’s “A Call For All Demons.” While Grismore plays with the folksiness of Frisell, the band, due to the presence of Rapson’s trombone, drift into a New Orleans brass sound. Confused? So am I, because Brent Sandy can also walk the same trumpet line as Dave Douglas, somewhere between Stravinsky and Don Cherry. I’ve selected the discs final track, Matt Wilson’s ode to Don Cherry, “July Hymn,” as my theme song for my life. It’s bluesy procession has been programmed into my clock radio to be the last tune I hear before I drift off to sleep. And I still can’t tell you why I dig this record.