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Lisa Mezzacappa Trio: X Marks The Question

Glenn Astarita By

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Lisa Mezzacappa Trio: X Marks The Question X Marks The Question is one of two concurrent September 2013 releases on separate record labels by burgeoning San Francisco Bay Area-based, bassist composer Lisa Mezzacappa. On Comeuppance (Not Two Records, 2013) she fronts a quartet featuring saxophonist Aaron Bennett but here, spearheads a power-packed progressive jazz trio, highlighting lead soloist, guitarist Chris Welcome. And as history would dictate—given the bassist's avant-garde proclivities—this session is far from your boilerplate modern jazz guitar trio date other than "Negakfok," which leans towards the swing and bop spectrum.

Welcome and drummer Mike Pride represent the East Coast USA contingent. And they kick matters off with an explosive foray on "1989," where Mezzacappa's massive bass lines align with Pride's thunderous patterns. Hence, they embark on a scrappy, free-flowing jaunt intersected by the guitarist's buzzing and flickering notes, leading to a turbulent outlook amid some tricky unison runs. Essentially, the trio charts a course built on alternating or asymmetrical grooves. And the rhythm section's recoiling pace bids a weighty but uncannily fluid underpinning with instances that afford the respective artists ample opportunities to flex some muscle.

Undulating currents with a throng of dips and spikes partly characterize the musicians' impetus. On "Ghost Dance," they dish out a jumbling soundscape, sliced up by Welcome's speedy licks. And "The Deep Disciplines" pronounces a loose vibe, where Pride uses small percussion instruments that playfully reduce impact and provides a capricious mechanism for counterbalancing the gusty developments. But they eventually ascend towards a maniacal finale, emphasized by Mezzacappa's buzz-saw like arco voicings and move the proceedings into a microtonal, sound-shaping vamp during "X Marks the Question." Nonetheless, it's a unit that possesses a resourceful manifesto. From a progressive jazz trio standpoint, the artists most assuredly push the envelope and broaden the roads previously traversed.


Track Listing: 1989; Space is Expanding; Ghost Dance; Jazz Brunch; Negakfok; Pottie Mouth; The Deep Disciplines; X Marks the Question; Judgment Night.

Personnel: Chris Welcome: guitar; Lisa Mezzacappa: acoustic bass; Mike Pride: drums.

Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: Queen Bee Records


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