Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for readers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

521

Jeff Babko: Mondo Trio

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
Like other Los Angeles musicians who spend a lot of time as guns-for-hire, keyboardist Jeff Babko may not be a name you'll recognize, but chances are you've heard him. Whether it's with the house band of ABC's The Jimmy Kimmel Show, touring with Robben Ford or James Taylor, or recording with Larry Carlton or Tim McGraw, Babko is a true musical chameleon. So what does a well-rounded player like Babko do when left to his own designs? Mondo Trio may not be the entire answer, but it's a grand place to start.

Babko teams up with woodwind multi-instrumentalist Jeff Coffin, of Béla Fleck and the Flecktones fame, and drummer Vinnie Colaiuta, whose list of credentials is even longer than Babko's. It's an explosively spontaneous and hard-blowing session that's got the energy of fusion but delves into everything from funk to free, energetic swing to fiery irregular meters and even a hint of progressive rock. The reference points are many, but despite its lack of a guitarist there's no question that the raw potency of Tony Williams Lifetime Emergency! (Polydor, 1969), figures largely into the equation.

Babko's remarkable ear for texture, expanded even further by Coffin's integration of processing with his array of saxophones, bass clarinet and flute, gives the trio a sound much bigger than one would expect. Coffin has plenty of freedom with Fleck, but he's never played with such reckless abandon, rendering his work with the intrepid banjoist a little on the polite side. From the nearly unrecognizable sound of his processed horn on his own "Ride" to Babko's modal burner "Vote 4 Morals," where the softer tone of Coffin's flute solo feels completely in context with Colaiuta's tumultuous drumming, he's simply never sounded this good or unfettered.

Babko's growling B3, sounds at times like how Keith Emerson might have sounded, had he chosen a path other than the bombast of Emerson, Lake & Palmer—and had he employed a drummer with the kind of strong timing that Colaiuta maintains throughout. Though Colaiuta gets precious little solo space, he's an absolutely equal part of the three-way conversation in much of Mondo Trip.

The fitting maelstrom of Coffin's temporally elastic "El Nino" is one of Mondo Trio's highlights if only because it's so unexpected. There's a melody and a set of changes, but the manner in which the trio navigates them is open-ended and surprisingly free for what would largely be considered a fusion outing. Babko's Rhodes work here demonstrates a broader vernacular shared by all.

Captivating from start to finish, Mondo Trio demonstrates a broad reach that's the result of three players who've spent a lot of time in a variety of contexts. It's also another winner from Abstract Logix, which may be a relatively fledgling label but has so far demonstrated unerring instincts in the projects it's chosen to get behind.


Track Listing: Head Trauma; Vote 4 Morals; Five Before Happy Time; El Nino; Akimbo; Ride; X Marks the Spot; Young Dr. Jung; Love Theme from Mondo Trio.

Personnel: Jeff Babko: Fender Rhodes, Wurlitzer, Hammond B3, synthesizers, noises; Jeff Coffin: tenor, alto and soprano saxophones, bass clarinet, flute, percussion; Vinnie Colaiuta: drums, percussion, cymbals.

Title: Mondo Trio | Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Abstract Logix

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Warning: include(/data/websites/jazznearyou.com/www/html/templates/calendar/cal_related_cached.php): failed to open stream: No such file or directory in /home/websites/allaboutjazz.com/www/html/content/article.php on line 68

Warning: include(): Failed opening '/data/websites/jazznearyou.com/www/html/templates/calendar/cal_related_cached.php' for inclusion (include_path='.:/usr/lib/php5:/data/websites/allaboutjazz.com/www/html:/usr/share/php') in /home/websites/allaboutjazz.com/www/html/content/article.php on line 68

More Articles

Read Flaneur CD/LP/Track Review Flaneur
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: January 16, 2018
Read D'Agala CD/LP/Track Review D'Agala
by Troy Dostert
Published: January 16, 2018
Read Vertical CD/LP/Track Review Vertical
by Don Phipps
Published: January 16, 2018
Read In Stride CD/LP/Track Review In Stride
by Geno Thackara
Published: January 16, 2018
Read Solid Gold CD/LP/Track Review Solid Gold
by Jack Bowers
Published: January 15, 2018
Read Ts'iibil Chaaltun CD/LP/Track Review Ts'iibil Chaaltun
by Don Phipps
Published: January 15, 2018
Read "Jinja" CD/LP/Track Review Jinja
by James Nadal
Published: February 11, 2017
Read "June" CD/LP/Track Review June
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 19, 2017
Read "Big Man on Campus" CD/LP/Track Review Big Man on Campus
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 7, 2017
Read "Hope Of Home" CD/LP/Track Review Hope Of Home
by Budd Kopman
Published: March 2, 2017
Read "Sovereign" CD/LP/Track Review Sovereign
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 30, 2017
Read "Mask Dance" CD/LP/Track Review Mask Dance
by Ian Patterson
Published: May 3, 2017