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Published: 2010/09/13
by Randy Ray

Garage A Trois, The Compound, Phoenix, AZ – 8/17

An intimate acoustic setting with high wood ceilings was the locale for a rare tour date by the little electric improv supergroup which most assuredly could. Indeed, the ‘ski lodge’ atmosphere gave another surreal touch, a wintery element, collected within the large, square dimensions of The Compound. Garage A Trois played a remarkably diverse, tight yet loose set rooted in structured improvisation, helped somewhat by featuring an experienced band of adventurous souls—Skerik on saxophone and between-song-grunt-quip-and-banter, Matt Dillon on vibes, co-quips and skins, Marco Benevento on keyboards, and Stanton Moore behind his famous Gretsch drum kit.

Outside, a monsoon beckoned, after heaping an onslaught of rain and fury on various parts of eastern Arizona. But this only served to strengthen the resolve of this stellar tandem on this unique evening, with music featuring elements of New Orleans jazz, ragamuffin East Coast circus-type post-Midnight rambunctious rambles, Old World traveling troubadours, and a healthy, humorous, and delightful blend of GAT improvisation culled from numerous sources, including several choice cuts from their current album, Power Patriot reined in, and then allowed to wander in a magical way.

No one band member leads in this formation. Instead, bouncing between hip hop, house, up and downtempo, hard rock and soul, the Brothers Trois offered revitalized funk ‘n N’awlins charm in tastefully built passages of improvised chaos. In a mesmerizing sequence, and what appeared to symbolize the band’s modus operandi, the quartet broke up into pairs to deliver inspired duets of mayhem—Benevento and Moore would hook up on a beat, and jam on its inner core, while Dillon would race and pace deep inside the pocket created, between the rhythm, eventually emphasizing a martial beat with a vibraphone hook, and all leading to some post-lounge bliss on the outskirts of the desert. Skerik, always Skerik, wild and free, linked with Dillon, and on the edge of oblivion, riding along the currents, sometimes far over the edge, circled and accentuated within the welcome warmth of sounds from a seasoned quartet out to pursue that new pearl of music post-jam, post-storm, and anytime called now.

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