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Listening to The Lost Trio play their versions of mostly jazz standards reminds me of Sonny Rollins’ Way Out West recording. With the same lineup, Rollins, bassist Ray Brown, and drummer Shelley Manne took the corny western classics like “I’m An Old Cowhand” and turned them to hip jazz numbers. Here, The Lost Trio takes the classics of jazz and converts them into folk tunes. Using the same inventions as Rollins, the trio pumps fresh life into the familiar.
The Lost Trio is made up of drummer Tom Hassett (Susan Chen Trio), bassist Dan Seamans (New Klezmer Trio, Trio Putanesca), and Saxophonist Phillip Greenlief. Greenlief is a music educator and founder of Evander Music. The West Coast musician is comfortable in all music settings from post-bop outings such as this and more outré creative affairs. His 1995 duo record Collect My Thoughts with drummer Scott Amendola on Vinny Golia’s 9Winds label announced him as a skilled improviser and creative thinker.
The Lost Trio like Greenlief and Seaman’s other project, Trio Putanesca with guitarist Adam Levy pay, tribute to jazz classics without kneeling in direct adoration. On Live At Yoshi’s the feel is the same, some great playing if not in a slightly mellow straight-ahead direction.
Rememberance Of Songs Past begins Sonny-like with Hank Williams’ “My Bucket’s Got A Hole In It.” The trio skirt past the corn for authenticity. Same with Mel Tillis’ “Strange,” where they play popular music like, well popular music. Their job is not to deconstruct but to refresh the familiar. Take Thelonious Monk’s “Shuffle Boil.” Greenlief takes up a Steve Lacy soprano saxophone in obvious tribute to Monk’s greatest interpreter. On Ornette Coleman’s “Bird Food,” the song remains the same, only the angularity of Ornette is smoothed by the warmth of Greenlief’s saxophone and Seamans’ bass solo. Greenlief’s solo follows pattern with a retelling of a favorite story. This is not your ‘new thing’ father’s music. The trio reworks the music, why? Because everything has been done before. Like Sonny Rollins’ resurrecting the Western motifs into jazz, the trio takes Irving Berlin’s “Cheek To Cheek” opens it as a march then plays with its time. Drummer Hassett pulses through various dance stylings while Seaman’s bow saws the ethereal. It’s all great fun, an element lacking in this most serious of jazz music today.
The Lost Trio and Trio Putensca’s discs can be found on the web here Evander Music .