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Garage a Trois: Always Be Happy But Stay Evil

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Once the most cerebral of groovemeisters, when guitarist Charlie Hunter collaborated with saxophonist Skerik, vibraphonist Mike Dillon and drummer Stanton Moore, Garage a Trois reinvented itself two years ago when keyboardist Marco Benevento took the guitarist's place, a process that now continues with Always Be Happy But Stay Evil. In contrast to the kamikaze attack of Power Patriot (Royal Potato Family, 2009), Garage a Trois begins this disc with the odd timbre of one of Benevento's synthesiszer-like keyboards, before “Omar" opens up to accommodate, in turn, the soft luminescence of the composer's vibes, the authoritative lockstep of Moore's ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Garage A Trois: Always Be Happy, But Stay Evil

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Garage A TroisAlways Be Happy, But Stay EvilRoyal Potato Family2011 The story of jazz/rock cominglings is a not a happy one, strewn, as it is, with compromise and the middle ground. But it does include some happy chapters, several of them set in the modern jam band era. One of these concerns Garage A Trois, the group which has, since 2009's Power Patriot (Royal Potato Family), consisted of tenor saxophonist Skerik, keyboardist Marco Benevento, vibraphonist Mike Dillon and drummer Stanton Moore. The quartet retains the name of its founding, three-piece incarnation--Skerik, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Garage a Trois: Power Patriot

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The lines between jazz and rock can become blurred inside of a really good groove. That's exactly what happens on Garage a Trois' Power Patriot. In spite of its hokey title with red state overtones, the ten songs it contains are tightly constructed jams composed largely by Mike Dillon and pianist Marco Benevento, whose own trio focuses on indie-rock- based jazz. Upon opening the CD, it's clear that this is not a typical jazz album. The inside cover art is a color illustration of two cuddly stuffed animals copulating doggie style, which is a perfect approximation of the rebellious edge ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Garage A Trois: Power Patriot

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The music of Garage A Trois is located somewhere on the map between do-it-yourself punk fusion and hip-hop jamband. The current lineup replaces guitarist Charlie Hunter, heard on Outre Mer (Telarc, 2006) and Emphasizer (Tone Cool, 2003), with keyboardist Marco Benevento. The effect is to push the music more towards saxophonist Skerik's prior efforts in the Seattle band Ponga. The change here is heard in the writing of vibraphonist Mike Dillon and Benevento's keyboard mayhem. A fan of vintage electronics and keyboards, as he did on his solo effort, Me Not Me (Royal Potato Family, 2009), Benevento supplies ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Garage A Trois: Outre Mer

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Garage a Trois, a quartet consisting of Mike Dillon, Charlie Hunter, Skerik, and Stanton Moore, recorded Outre Mer live with no overdubs: no small feat given its buoyantly dense sound. And although the name of the band doesn't quite fit the number of musicians, they combine elements found in each of their solo projects to form a collective sound, something wholly unique.Favoring breakneck movement-inducing funk/groove backdrop replete with punchy horn lines, hand mutes, and swaggering percussion, this soundtrack to Klaus Tontine's film tells the tale of 45-inch Etienne de Nerval and “the lifetime of [this] brave but solitary ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Garage a Trois: Outre Mer

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Film music has its own sets of demands, often required to elevate the emotional content of the cinematic story while at the same time seamlessly blending so that it doesn't dominate. And while scores can literally define the mood of a film at their best--think Hitchcock's Psycho--and some only work in conjunction with the films for which they're intended, some can also stand as independent entities, like Miles Davis' 1950s score for Ascenseur pour L'Echafaud.

Some film scores are all about cues and consequently rarely succeed independently, but Garage a Trois' latest release--the soundtrack to French filmmaker Klaus Tontine's Outre ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Garage A Trois: Outre Mer

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Garage A Trois' Outre Mer is the soundtrack to an as yet unreleased French film of the same name. The band, consisting of Mike Dillon (percussion, vibraphone), Charlie Hunter (eight-string guitar, pandero), Stanton Moore (drums, polyrhythms), and Skerik (saxophone), lays down surging funk-influenced tunes, tempered by the intricate delicacy of vibraphone and guitar.

The main problem with most soundtrack recordings is that they can be, well, boring. Since the main purpose of the music is to accompany the action on the screen, it may not have the weight that's necessary to maintain interest when played apart from the ...

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Charlie Hunter: Renaissance Man of Jazz

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Groovemeister Charlie Hunter is one of the most innovative musicians in contemporary jazz right now and one of the most prolific as well. Not only does the 8-string guitarist front his own band---currently a trio, formerly a quintet--he also tours regularly with Garage a Trois. In addition, in 2004 he initiated a series of recordings with drummer extraordinaire Bobby Previte: dubbing themselves Groundtruther, the concept entails the duo playing with a different third musician on each of three albums.

Accordingly, Hunter is now on two albums released almost simultaneously. The first is Longitude with Groundtruther, this time featuring DJ Logic, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Garage a Trois: Emphasizer

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Three of the four players in Garage a Trois are West Coasters, which helps explain the free-wheeling home-brewed funk that pervades Emphasizer. It's only appropriate that New Orleans also make its contribution in the form of drummer Stanton Moore, a viciously adept guardian of the groove. The year-old addition of percussionist/vibraphonist Mike Dillon represents an upgrade on the original Trois of guitarist Charlie Hunter, saxophonist Skerik, and drummer Moore (who together recorded the Mysteryfunk EP in 1999).

Whenever you have Charlie Hunter on the scene, certain things are bound to happen. Because of his frightening abilities on the ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Garage a Trois: Emphasizer

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When was the last time you had fun listening to a jazz record?

I’m not talking about the seriousness of the neo-conservative suit-and-tie hard bopper syndrome, people who perform the “listen to this music, it’s good for you” kind. Nor the avant “we don’t expect (want) you to understand or actually like our stuff” kind.

I mean the type of music you would make if you were a musician yourself. Music that draws from all your collective listening habits and years of first AM, then FM, radio dialing.

Garage a Trois is ...



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