267

String Trio of New York: The River of Orion: 30 Years Running

Glenn Astarita By

Sign in to view read count
Established in 1979 with the Black Saint album First String, featuring Billy Bang manning the violin chair, the revered band String Trio of New York celebrates its 30-year anniversary with the impressionable effort, The River of Orion: 30 Years Running. Over the years, the trio has invited guest artists, such as saxophonist Oliver Lake and pianist Anthony Davis, to partake in performances and recordings. However, bassist John Lindberg and guitarist James Emery loom as the core components of the trio's makeup, spanning four decades. From a jazz perspective, the band embodies a genre-busting integration of evolving song forms that touch upon modern classical and folk elements. This release highlights Emery's "The River Of Orion" and Lindberg's "Journey Platz," both multi-part compositions.

Again, the trio explores numerous concepts while always maintaining sinuous flows and probing storylines. The musicians execute a cohesive plane that go on a burgeoning journey, spanning sweet and sassy grooves to torridly devised free-bop passages. And they inject the chamber element in spots. It's demanding music for the discriminating connoisseur, as some might say. But where many others become bogged down in snazzy time signatures that lack a particular mood or vibe, these folks sustain loads of interest.

On "The River Of Orion—Aquarian Waters (Part Two)," the musicians breeze through a medium-tempo swing vamp, dappled with Emery's blazing 16th-note voicings and Thomas' lyrically rich lines. But they straddle the avant-garde during "The River Of Orion—Alnitak," as they emulate a frantic metropolis via a blazing trail of ideas and assertions. Here, the trio forges bump-and-groove passages with sweet-toned innocence and ominous circumstances.

The plot continues during "Journey Platz—Part One," which is a piece engineered upon interweaving dialogues and Lindberg's furiously enacted arco movements. They fuse counterpoint, dissonance and intense phrasings that summon notions of someone attempting to navigate through an intricate maze. Yet they find the opening, and soar skyward into a climactic frenzy, underpinned by Thomas' sanguine choruses.

One of the striking elements of the trio's chemistry pertains to its translucent manner of regenerating a given theme or melody into a contrapuntal forum. They flush out certain components, while breathing life into subsequent movements. Abiding an evolutionary methodology amid their cunning improvisational maneuvers, it's not about every man for himself. Contrarily, it's centered on the musicians' remarkable intuition, which is the stuff that can't be taught in the classroom.

Regardless, the 30-year mark serves as a notable timestamp for a band that keeps moving forward with astounding invention, complementing the instrumentalists' signature styles and charismatic, group- based disposition.


Track Listing: The River Of Orion - Aquarian Waters (Part One); Aquarian Waters (Part Two); E. Eridani; The Trapezium; The River Of Orion (Theme); Alnitak; Stellar Coronae; The Eridanus Supervoid; East Of Mintaka; Journey Platz - Part One; Journey Platz - Part Two; Journey Platz - Part Three; Journey Platz - Part Four; Journey Platz - Part Five.

Personnel: Rob Thomas: violin; James Emery: guitar; John Lindberg: bass.

Title: The River of Orion: 30 Years Running | Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Black Saint


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read A Night Walking Through Mirrors CD/LP/Track Review A Night Walking Through Mirrors
by Barry Witherden
Published: September 21, 2017
Read Jondo CD/LP/Track Review Jondo
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 21, 2017
Read Jazz Flute Traditions CD/LP/Track Review Jazz Flute Traditions
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 21, 2017
Read Nerve Dance CD/LP/Track Review Nerve Dance
by John Sharpe
Published: September 21, 2017
Read Déjà Vu CD/LP/Track Review Déjà Vu
by Troy Dostert
Published: September 20, 2017
Read Woody Guthrie - The Tribute Concerts CD/LP/Track Review Woody Guthrie - The Tribute Concerts
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: September 20, 2017
Read "Live at Ronnie Scott's" CD/LP/Track Review Live at Ronnie Scott's
by Geno Thackara
Published: September 10, 2017
Read "The Reasons Don't Change" CD/LP/Track Review The Reasons Don't Change
by Roger Farbey
Published: January 15, 2017
Read "Live At Maxwell's" CD/LP/Track Review Live At Maxwell's
by Budd Kopman
Published: September 23, 2016
Read "Pastures" CD/LP/Track Review Pastures
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 26, 2016
Read "Brain//Child" CD/LP/Track Review Brain//Child
by Geno Thackara
Published: December 24, 2016
Read "Momentum" CD/LP/Track Review Momentum
by John Sharpe
Published: April 5, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.