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Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2009

Garage a Trois

Power Patriot (Royal Potato Family)

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The fourth iteration of modern jazz supergroup Garage a Trois finds the boys dropping guitar wizard Charlie Hunter, probably leaving him back at the record store with most any and all of their collective influences. Free-form and forward-thinking is the game when drummer Stanton Moore, vibraphonist Mike Dillon and saxophonist Skerik play together. This time they introduce the scuzzy organ of Marco Benevento to their sleazy trip-hop jazz fusion, while cooking in just a bit more postmodern industrial quirkiness for good measure.

To his credit Benevento mostly hangs back, and Skerik (or whoever’s hands are on the iTools knob) doesn’t completely clutter with the pervasive series of electronic bleeps, wheezes and drones. But Moore’s brand is certainly one of muscular, danceable funk, and when he locks with Dillon’s tinklings—at turns playful, then scorching—is when the group sounds and feels the best.

For this, Blue Note acolytes will be quite comfortable with the likes of “Dory’s Day Out” or “Dugout.” But at their essence the group tends toward the avant-garde. And when things get obstinately self-indulgent, spacey and a little busy—as on the title track and often elsewhere—it is a trip best experienced with an open mind, or at least a palm full of acid.


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