Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Perfect Sounds Listening Booth, week 23, 2010

  • The Mark Lomax Trio: The State of Black America (Inarhyme, 2010) - A drums, bass and sax-trio, and like a couple of the good trio records from last year (of which there were a few), noteably JD Allen Trio's Shine and Marcus Stricklands Idiosyncrasies, it has shades of post-Coltrane. But where Allen's had a groovy blues feel, and Stickland's added R&B-like rhythm patterns, The State of ... rumbles and screeches a lot more when it needs to, and the bluesier and slower songs feel a lot more rough-hewn and raw, befitting the theme as hinted to in the record's title. At times this resembles Charles Gayle's own great Coltrane-homage Touchin' the Trane, if not quite as free. The opening track, "Stuck In a Rut", is especially riveting, starting off with the group setting up a theme, before bassist Dean Hulett plays a two note bass vamp as if to say "wait for it ... waaaait for it", and then BOOM, the tune blasts off. Hulett's bass playing is deep, raw and solid, using the lower register of the instrument to great effect. Drummer Mark Lomax II and sax player (tenor) Edwyn Bayard let themselves go more often than Hulett, but the interplay is excellent. The production gives the music an intimate and "up close" feeling, as if they are playing in a small club. A powerful and enjoyable set. (8/10)*
* Grades are tentative, based on three or four listens, sometimes a few more. Much of the writing is done during listens, and should be considered notes more than final reviews.

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