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CD REVIEW: Trikus, "New Mood Suite"
By David Lockeretz - 02/21/2003 - 01:13 AM EST

Artist: Trikus
Album: "New Mood Suite"
CD Review: Trikus might need a lot of work, but the bottom line is that I enjoyed listening to them more than I have a lot of bands that don't need work.

Or, to put it in English, although there are a few things I didn't like about this CD, the good parts more than made up for it. With some tweaking, Trikus could become a major force in modern jazz.

To provide a little backstory: Fusion, generally understood to be the mix of jazz music with rock'n'roll, is the style of music that everyone loves to hate. It puts rock fans to sleep and makes jazz purists do involuntary Linda Blair impressions. True, many fusion artists haven't helped themselves out, performing music that is pointlessly intricate, numbingly electronic, shamelessly commercial or any combination thereof. While Trikus occasionally seems to veer off toward any of those death knells, by and large, the CD is strikingly original and the virtuosity displayed exists for musical reasons, not for its own sake.

There is good variety. "Funhouse", which opens the CD, features a very funky groove that shifts around, keeping the listener guessing. "Ginaroma" has a more tropical vibe, featuring the Indian Ioni Flute. "Druids" is a moodier funk piece while "Quite Contree M's B" is a modern straight-ahead jazz waltz, sounding similar to some of the Yellowjackets' acoustic material. Bassist/composer George Hoar delivers, whether it's a melodic solo on "Contree" or a Jaco-style accompaniment in "Funhouse."

So what's the problem here? Most of it comes down to overlength of pretty much all of the songs, and a lack of dynamics, both on the ensemble level and the overall production level. Compositionally, the songs are interesting, but they tend to run out of gas; maybe Hoar needs to examine the forms of some of his pieces and trim some fat.

With some changes, Trikus might well have captured the elusive balance of being both accessible to a wide audience and artistically satisfying. This CD is a very promising effort, and I hope to hear more ASAFP. I only criticize them because I care. Seriously.

No contact information is available for Trikus.

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