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The Tim Carman Trio And GA-20: Everything Old Is New Again


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An author and educator besides a musician, Boston-based Tim Carman might well qualify as a renaissance man. Based on two closely coincidental releases on which he appears, not to mention an increasingly lengthy discography including prior titles with these very same ensembles, he's certainly an artist to be reckoned with. It is one thing to have command of technique, but quite another to be able to adjust those technical skills for a variety of settings and still retain a distinctive personal touch. The drummer in his own trio and the heavy blues threesome GA-20 is one of those rare musicians who literally delights in all he does and, consequently, the glee with which he imbues his playing is sufficiently infectious that his collaborators function in kind.

Tim Carman Trio
Key Lime
Color Red

Recording live in a single day, Carman, guitarist Steve Fall and organist Ken Clark fulfilled an idea occurring to the band's namesake during the pandemic lockdown, namely that the world needed a Hammond B3-based trio in the mold of Sixties icons Jimmy Smith and Grant Green. And Key Lime is indeed that epiphany come to life from its very commencement: on "Blues For Bob," these three men conjure up the intimate atmosphere of a venue late at night, when the musicians are all warmed up and the listeners are only the most loyal. Mixing originals ("Insomnia") and covers (Sonny Rollins' "Sonny Moon For Two"), the alternating vigor and fluidity of these men's playing hardly impinges upon their affection for the material or the sound they conjure up from its foundation. On the contrary, their liberated but disciplined approach, leaving each other plenty of room to move, is the definition of reinvention and rediscovery.

Live In Loveland

The ever prolific bandleader/drummer Tim Carman, vocalist/ guitarist/composer Pat Faherty and guitarist/composer Matthew Stubbs are as nimble in their playing together as in their choice of material. Covers like Little Walter's "My Baby's Sweeter" reside comfortably next to originals like "Lonely Soul" (composed by the aforementioned pair of fretboarders) and nowhere do the threesome succumb to mere riffing. Instead, each successive track of the eleven here proves GA-20 they've fully processed their influences: barebones and scrappy is the sound (with no bass), the absence of affectation in their presentation lies in their full immersion in performance of cuts like "Dry Run." The exuberant immediacy of the group's music is certainly enough to make up for the abbreviated 31-minute playing time—for the purposes of optimum vinyl sound quality perhaps?—while frequent repeated listenings reaffirm that, in addition to all their other virtues, GA-20's music has that sense of humor intrinsic to the blues: hear, for instance, "Crackin' Up.''

Tracks and Personnel

Key Lime

Tracks: Blues For Bob; Scoochie; Key Lime; Not A Tear; Driftin'; Buster Rides Again; Sonny Moon For Two; Insomnia.

Personnel: Steve Fell: guitar; Ken Clark: organ; Tim Carman: drums.

Live In Loveland#2

Tracks: I Cry For You; My Baby's Sweeter; Lonely Soul; I Let Someone In; Dry Run; Double Gettin'; My Soul; Just Because; Hold It One More Time; Crackin' Up; Be My Lonesome.

Personnel: Pat Faherty: vocals, guitar; Matthew Stubbs: guitar; Tim Carman: drums.

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