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 both challenging and exhilarating, and the endeavor of improvisation is the highest form of art.
I met so many great musicians--including my two earliest heroes, Maynard Ferguson and Dizzy Gillespie--by attending concerts
and being willing to treat them with the respect they deserve.
The best show I ever attended was the Pat Metheny/Ornette Coleman Song X concert at Cornell University.
The first jazz record I bought was an RCA compilation by Dizzy Gillespie.
My advice to new listeners is to not be afraid to listen to something because you're not familiar with the artists or the band or
the genre or anything - this is music that is best experienced through discovery.