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Album Review

Alex Jenkins Trio: Tri-Cycle


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Alex Jenkins Trio: Tri-Cycle
The Alex Jenkins Trio, out of Sacramento, California, has a forthright, muscular sound. Sax, bass and drums—things boiled down to the essentials. Tri-Cycle, Jenkins' second trio recording presents music in an uncluttered style, opens the show with the cool pop and bubble of Jenkin's original, "Scarlet Lullaby."

Jenkins drumming style—on a drum kit here, but, much influenced by his studies of the tabla—is busy and unsubtle on this tune in the best possible way— no whispering brushes or pastel colorations at this point. This is behind Alex Reiff's beefy upright bass lines and saxophonist Levi Saelua's fluid, George Coleman-like approach to his instrument.

A cohesive effort from start to finish, no song defines the group sound more than one of the two covers offered here: Led Zeppelin's "No Quarter" says Jenkins has spent some time listening to that group's drummer John Bonham's often bombastic, bursting-with-life backdrops. The other cover—in the midst of originals by Jenkins, reedman Saelua and bassist Reiff—is saxophonist Dewey Redman's "Joi de Vivre." It is a tranquil rendition, with a bigger, warmer sound than the one Redman offered up on his 1974 outing, Coincide (Impulse!). This trio's take gives bassist Reiff a chance to stretch out. It also showcases the group dynamic with some sharp sound quality that defines the individual instruments—and their interplay—nicely.

Saelua switches to clarinet on the Jenkiins-penned "Azul," then switches back to tenor for his own bopping original, "Contrafiction," his short sax lines bouncing in and out of Reiff's walking (with some pep in its step) bass lines.

The trio closes out with a group improvisation, "Lost Art Of Daydreaming," a beautifully measured, in-the-moment reverie the ends the show with style.

Added bonus: Cool cover art.

Track Listing

Scarlet Lullaby; No Quarter; I Remember Roy; Joie de Vivre; Barnlit Moon; Azul; Contrafiction; Wilderness of Mirrors; Lost Art of Daydreaming.


Levi Saelua
Alex Reiff
bass, acoustic

Album information

Title: Tri-Cycle | Year Released: 2021 | Record Label: 11th Ave Music

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