Artists who defy standard categorization have been making their way to Ropeadope Records, who, in turn, have been embracing them with open arms. One of the most recent bands to sign with the eclectic label is the genre polyglot threesome, Tin Hat Trio. How fortunate this is for the label and us. The Tin Hat Trio had two previous recordings ( Memory is an Elephant and Helium ) on EMI’s classical subsidiary, Angel, where the band received a modest amount of attention. Now with a label in more of the band’s groove, the Tin Hat Trio continues to come into their own, though that should not be so hard considering the brilliant uniqueness of the group.
The Tin Hat Trio is collectively Rob Burger (keyboards, accordion, harmonica), Carla Kihlstedt (violin, viola, voice), and Mark Orton (guitars, dobro, banjo). San Francisco natives all, the trio makes music of another place and time with a select group of guest appearances, from Jon Fishman to Willie Nelson. The music could easily be a soundtrack of mid-19th Century New York City when a dozen cultures clashed, coupled, and give birth to what we now call America. Moody and often dark, the music contains Hebraic, Eastern European, and Russian genes. The rustic combination of dobro, fiddle, and accordian gives this recording a nose of wood smoke with hints of cinnamon, curry, saffron, and red wine. Drink Deep.
I love jazz because it is in my blood. It is the only original American art form. It is sacred. The greatest musicians are jazz artists.
I was first exposed to jazz in 1961 listening to my father's records of Duke Ellington, Billy Strayhorn, Count Basie, Nat King Cole, Ben Webster, Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young.
I met Sonny Stitt, Wayne Shorter, Branford Marsalis, Joey Calderazzo, Michael Brecker, Cannonball Adderley, Walter Booker, Dave Liebman, Joe Lovano, George Benson, Mike
Stern, Stanley Turrentine, Billy Harper, Skip Hadden, Charlie Haden.
The best show I ever attended was Joe Lovano with Soundprints at the Wexner Center in Columbus Ohio in 2014.
The first jazz record I bought was Miles Smiles.