This one came in with no words attachedno press release, no liner notesnot the recommended mode. So you know only that it's a trio affair, bass/drums/guitar, the leader of the set being bassist Dave Lobenstein.
So it goes on the stereo, and it passes the five second test: if the first five seconds of a set's sound grabs you, chances are very good that it's a winner. The five second test proves true once again.
The Dave Lobenstein Trio falls into that "ensemble of equals" category, with a propulsive sound, three intrumentalists going at each other, sort of like a sonic Roller Derby, pushing, jostling, elbowing each other for position, while gliding forward in an intriguingly contentious synchronicity.
They're loudif the Bad Plus can get credit for that, why not Lobenstein and crew. And they're rambunctous. The leader's bass asserts itself, filling space with dense washes; while drummer Rob Garcia hits your ribs with a fist...
I was surprised to read from a review clip on Garcia's web site that his drumming was "unobtrusive." Maybe on the set in question there, but not on this one. Everyone's obtrusive here; and it works.
Steve Salerno's guitar can sting, or ring out resonant organ-like chords. Another surprise was finding out he's that involved in classical music as well as jazz. A versatile guy; here he's sharp-edged, sometimes jagged and in your face.
Prickly groovesLobenstein's "Single Malt" and "Triple Play"; quirky soulSonny Rollins' "No Moe"; ominous abstractionLobenstein's "Chainsaw: A Love Ballad"; an oddly folksy and almost mainstream feeling"Song for Aidan."