203

Drop Trio: Cezanne

By

Sign in to view read count
Drop Trio: Cezanne The "funk jazz" moniker can be a tricky one for bands. On one hand, die-hard jazz enthusiasts are loath to listen simply because of the funk elements. On the other, the funkier among us might not enjoy the music because they may regard traditional jazz as a more staid musical genre. Thankfully, Houston's Drop Trio rides the fine line between funk and jazz—the musicians are not sporting afros or '70s-style stack heels, nor do they adhere to a strict jazz aesthetic. Instead, the band approaches their music as a group of professionals; the funk-jazz label is there simply because it's the most fitting description of the band's music.

Keyboardist Ian Varley is serious about Drop Trio's music, and Cezanne reflects this fact. Along with drummer Nuje Blattel and bassist Patrick Flanagan (and in front of an audience earlier this year at Houston jazz club Cezanne), Varley leads the band through a series of mostly acoustic songs from its previous two releases, 2003's Big Dipper and 2004's Leap. Along the way, the band shows why it's a favorite among Texas jazz lovers and also tinkers with the experimentation it's best known for—Drop Trio is no "jam band," but there's enough noodling throughout Cezanne to appeal to cross-genre fans. "Robot Suit: I," an improv track the band learned after recording it, retains its original Emerson, Lake and Palmer-esque feel and reflects the band's dedication to onstage improvisation, while "Wet Dog" and "Smithee's Second" deftly earn comparisons to Medeski, Martin and Wood.

The recording tactfully keeps the crowd noise to a minimum—it's there enough to let you know Cezanne is a live album, but in no way distracts the listener or detracts from the songs' impact. It's obvious that Drop Trio knows what will set the crowd off, and the musicians play into it on a few occasions, most notably on "Invisible Pants" and "Mothership"—they're having fun doing what they enjoy, and it makes for an impressive, entertaining set. "Shelby" and "Wreck Of The Zephyr" mix Varley's extended solos with Flanagan's fluid basslines and Blattel's spot-on drumming (his solos on "Wreck..." and "Invisible Pants" are high points of the album). The band's cohesiveness during live performances, and its ability to keep audiences guessing, are perhaps Drop Trio's greatest strengths.

Fans of funked-up jazz, instrumental prog rock (especially expertly handled—and often meandering—keyboard solos), and solid, funky rhythms should enjoy Drop Trio's melodic, experimental brand of modern jazz.

Track Listing: Wallawalla; L.U.G.; Abbey Rhodes; Luna; Wreck Of The Zephyr; Mothership; Smithee's Second; Shelby; Wet Dog; Robot Suit: I; Invisible Pants.

Personnel: Ian Varley: keyboards; Nuje Blattel: drums; Patrick Flanagan: bass.

Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Self Produced | Style: Modern Jazz


comments powered by Disqus

Shop

CD/LP/Track Review
Download Reviews
Read more articles

More Articles

Read The Big Wig CD/LP/Track Review The Big Wig
by Ian Patterson
Published: May 24, 2017
Read The Dreamer Is the Dream CD/LP/Track Review The Dreamer Is the Dream
by Mark Sullivan
Published: May 24, 2017
Read Bill Evans – Another Time: The Hilversum Concert CD/LP/Track Review Bill Evans – Another Time: The Hilversum Concert
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: May 24, 2017
Read The Failure of Words CD/LP/Track Review The Failure of Words
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 24, 2017
Read Groove Dreams CD/LP/Track Review Groove Dreams
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: May 23, 2017
Read Kami Fusen CD/LP/Track Review Kami Fusen
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 23, 2017
Read "A Zoology of the Future" CD/LP/Track Review A Zoology of the Future
by Glenn Astarita
Published: July 31, 2016
Read "Metal Na Madeira" CD/LP/Track Review Metal Na Madeira
by Jim Trageser
Published: January 6, 2017
Read "Hark The Herald" CD/LP/Track Review Hark The Herald
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 6, 2016
Read "Eka" CD/LP/Track Review Eka
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: March 21, 2017
Read "Getting All The Evil Of The Piston Collar!" CD/LP/Track Review Getting All The Evil Of The Piston Collar!
by Budd Kopman
Published: October 3, 2016
Read "The Tenth Muse" CD/LP/Track Review The Tenth Muse
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: April 7, 2017

Why wait?

Support All About Jazz and we'll deliver exclusive content, hide ads, hide slide-outs, and provide read access to our future articles.

Buy it!