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A/B Trio: Trioliloquy

Friedrich Kunzmann By

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The suffix "-loquy" refers to something that is spoken. Alberta-based trio A/B Trio however has no intention of lecturing anyone on their third release Trioliloquy , but rather demonstrates how three musicians are able to create suspenseful narratives in a pool of colorful jazz tunes that be, bop and—once in a while—get blue as well. Thomas Bennett on drums, Dan Davis on saxophone and bassist Josh McHan are joined by trumpeter Kevin Turcotte for a couple of songs, augmenting the group to a quartet for melody highlighting as well as full-bodied soloing.

Opener "Lenny's Beat" is representative for the album's overall sound and structure. Subtle rhythmic and percussive drumming is soon joined by Josh McHan's crunchy bass line when trumpet and saxophone blend in for the exhibition of the first theme in unison. While this melody seems to cut through the air like a sharp blade, a following B section flows with contrasting ease and finds constant ride hits relieving the rhythm of its tension. This binary division can be traced across the composition and experiences alternation by soloing—the drums taking a stab at it as well.

It is curious this album should arrive around the same time Christian McBride unveils his newest project New Jawn (Mack Avenue Records, 2018), a quartet similar in its nature due, among other things, to the lack of a harmonic instrument. As on that undertaking, the three-plus-one musicians that make up the A/B Trio focus on texture and simple melodic phrases, creating harmonic frames in a horizontal manner rather than having chords robbing the other instruments of space to unfold in.

The album unrolls in a melodic way, following suit with the opener. While over half of the songs feature Turcotte on trumpet, the title track is one of the exceptions and demonstrates how much punch mere restless drumming combined with a determined bass and a talkative sax can establish. Still, if this album leaves one thing to be desired it would be Kevin Turcotte's name on the cover. His language and tone are essential to the records sound, which, with support from a crisp and round production (credits go to engineer Paul Johnston, the Audio Department), welcomes the listener with a warm embrace.

Track Listing: Lenny’s Beat; How Suite It Is; Roundabout; Trioliloquy; Leda’s Song; Los Plazos Del Patrón; Bluesaholic; Secondary Opinion

Personnel: Dan Davis: saxophones; Josh McHan: bass; Thomas Bennett: drums; Kevin Turcotte: trumpet

Title: Trioliloquy | Year Released: 2018 | Record Label: Chronograph Records

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