125

Tri-Fi: A Tri-Fi Christmas

Mark Corroto By

Sign in to view read count
Tri-Fi: A Tri-Fi Christmas Every Christmas there are volunteers sent to save us from the wrath of Burl Ives. They are called jazz musicians. Everyone loves a bit of schmaltzy music a few days before the holidays, but the only problem these days is that the holiday begins right after Halloween. Sixty days of grandma getting run over by a reindeer can make you suicidal.

This year's finest jazz Christmas offering might just be by pianist Matthew Fries, bassist Phil Palombi and drummer Keith Hall. Known as Tri-Fi, this piano trio has released three previous titles, the last being aptly named 3 (Tri-Fi, 2010). It's a sort of modern-day blue-collar band that has absorbed the history of the piano trio from Horace Silver and Ahmad Jamal to Jacky Terrasson and Aaron Goldberg.

When not performing acoustically, Tri-Fi backs vocalist Curtis Stigers. That certainly explains the ease in which the group interprets sing-a-long tunes like the fast-paced and swinging "Frosty The Snowman" and "Let It Snow," where the trio reinvents Sammy Cahn's lyric, playing it against the melody of Quincy Jones' "Killer Joe." It is enough to make mommy giddy after kissin' Santa Claus.

The band turns toward New Orleans on "Joy To The World," with Hall delivering a natty drum shuffle. Fries is free to preach the piano gospel here, and also on "Go Tell It On The Mountain," which ends with some hand claps and tambourine inspiration. The trio evokes memories of pianist Vince Guaraldi with "In The Bleak Of Winter." Like Guaraldi's Christmas music, the trio delivers a sparse, and tender offering. The highlight of the disc might be "We Three Kings," performed as if imagined by pianist McCoy Tyner. The band draws from the sound of saxophonist John Coltrane's A Love Supreme (Impulse!, 1965), lifting the bandstand with the ferocity of Fries' playing and Hall's energetic return.

Reinterpretation is certainly one reason to turn to jazz musicians for their vision. But when a bassist like Palombi picks up his bow to deliver a straightforward and sincere version of "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas," there is little to do but get into the true spirit of the holidays.

Track Listing: Frosty The Snowman; O Holy Night; Carol Of The Bells; Joy To The World; Let It Snow; We Three Kings; In The Bleak Midwinter; God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen; what Child Is This?; I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day; Go Tell It On The Mountain; Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas.

Personnel: Matthew Fries: piano; Phil Palombi: bass; Keith Hall: drums.

Title: A Tri-Fi Christmas | Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: Self Produced


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Saluting Sgt. Pepper CD/LP/Track Review Saluting Sgt. Pepper
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 22, 2017
Read Thick as Thieves CD/LP/Track Review Thick as Thieves
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 22, 2017
Read Dream Within A Dream CD/LP/Track Review Dream Within A Dream
by Ian Patterson
Published: June 22, 2017
Read Live At The High Noon CD/LP/Track Review Live At The High Noon
by Doug Collette
Published: June 22, 2017
Read As It Should Be: Ballads 2 CD/LP/Track Review As It Should Be: Ballads 2
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 21, 2017
Read Karoujite CD/LP/Track Review Karoujite
by John Eyles
Published: June 21, 2017
Read "You'll Never Know" CD/LP/Track Review You'll Never Know
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: January 31, 2017
Read "Stripped" CD/LP/Track Review Stripped
by James Nadal
Published: August 22, 2016
Read "Eight Track II" CD/LP/Track Review Eight Track II
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 4, 2016
Read "The Pauper And The Magician" CD/LP/Track Review The Pauper And The Magician
by Ian Patterson
Published: January 17, 2017
Read "Early Americans" CD/LP/Track Review Early Americans
by Ian Patterson
Published: September 22, 2016
Read "Signaling" CD/LP/Track Review Signaling
by Troy Dostert
Published: May 11, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.