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Chris Crocco: The Chris Crocco Fluid Trio +

Dave Wayne By

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An up-and-coming jazz guitarist, whose unadorned, largely effects-free sound belies a truly modernist approach, Chris Crocco's Fluid Trio+ stands out a bit from the gaggle of current jazz guitar recordings by virtue of its sheer stylistic range, and by the virtuosity of the playing therein. Crocco, along with drummer Francisco Mela and bassist Peter Slavov, plays with the sort of urgency that makes jazz really come alive. Though his sound is more akin to the traditional approach of plectrists such as Mick Goodrick and Ted Dunbar, Crocco giddily ventures all over the stylistic map. "Avenge" and "What It Is" are brainy swingers with elaborate melodic lines that would sound right at home in a Lennie Tristano or Warne Marsh set list, while the abstract funk of "When Is It When" and "Metal" smolders with an off- the-cuff M-BASE sensibility. Mela—employing some sort of metal rods or knitting needles—plays simply amazingly on both of these tunes. The doggedly minor key "Spice Mine" also benefits from Mela's aggressive approach, and sounds a bit like the middle ground between Tzadik and ECM. Slower-paced tunes such as "Heaven," "My Own Personal Wake," and "Silvia" offer Crocco and his trio—occasionally augmented by all-star ringer George Garzone—a chance to explore ballads and blues, while "Trial of Time" sounds a bit like a jazz standard that never was. Slavov gets plenty of solo opportunities, and consistently impresses with his articulate, free-flowing approach. "My Peace" is a bit of a surprise, featuring Crocco on steel string acoustic, it's a starkly emotional, hymn-like ballad that closes the CD on a thoughtful note.

As diverse as it all is, there's a palpable unity to Crocco's all- original program. Listening to Fluid Trio+ is a lot like looking at a sculpture from different angles and seeing something different— and quite interesting—from every direction.

Track Listing: Avenge; Heaven; Silvia; When It Is When; Trial of Time; What It Is; Spice Mine; Metal; My Own Personal Wake; My Peace.

Personnel: Chris Crocco: guitar; Peter Slavov: bass; Francisco Mela: drums; George Garzone: tenor saxophone.

Title: The Chris Crocco Fluid Trio + | Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: Self Produced

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