The debut release from collective trio True East is a patchwork party inviting gut-level utterances, punch-drunk strides, Latin-leaning grooves, and post-bop pronouncements to rejoice in each other's company. Engaged in near-unmitigated acts of creativity, trombonist Dan Lehner, bassist Ran Livneh and drummer Zack O'Farrill create an atmosphere rife with quick wit, raunchy rejoinders, catchy riffs and mindfully stumbling sentiments. But of greater importance than any specific suggestion(s), they flesh out a trio dynamic where there's trust and understanding built into these acts of communication and experimentation.
The aptly titled First EP delivers four edgy performancesthree Lehner originals and the trombonist's take on a Wayne Shorter classic. Opening on "Trash Causes Track Fires," the trio delights in sifting through the detritus. O'Farrill's clattering, jittery grooves lay the groundwork, Livneh locks into the picture and Lehner works on short bursts. Things appear loose and pliant as Livneh moves to the fore and the music evolves, but these three still manage to ride this wild ride as one, taking to every twist, turn and stop together. "The Mountain," opening with an ominous bass intro, offers a more tuneful take on the trio. Lehner, both a muted and open-horned presence, brilliantly plays to the Spanish-laced, avant-Spaghetti Western scenery with style and savoir faire.
Nodding to Shorter, Miles Davis' Second Great Quintet, and its own newly codified systems and language, the trio takes "E.S.P." on an earthy and anxious trip. Following Lehner's introduction, the band works the composition into a powder keg of possibilities with what can quickly be gleaned as a signature stressing. Then it all comes to an energetic close with "Volver," a dance-able design driven by O'Farrill's propulsive hi-hat, Livneh's bass flooring and riffing, and Lehner's top-layer tones. At 22 minutes this is a short set, but the payoff in the music is mighty large.
Trash Causes Track Fires; The Mountain; E.S.P.; Volver.
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