Random Roads Collection - Project Trio Album Review
For those unfamiliar with this Cleveland-born jazz-funk-beatboxing trio, where have you been since 2005? Probably the same place that I have, seeing as The Project Trio are a relatively new name in my usually broad circle as well. Thankfully, Tummy Touch have just signed them on the strength of their under-promoted back-catalogue and compiled a very handy compilation drawn from their first three albums - not only handy but also very good.
Formed some seven years ago, the trio features Greg Patillo (flutes and beats), Eric Stephenson (cello) and Peter Seymour (double bass) and, like Portico Quartet and Empirical, The Project Trio arent a straightforward assemblage of dullards in cardigans and endless Miles Davis covers (great though Miles Davis is, you understand), they are three Americans who have embraced the spirit of jazz and given it a bit of a contemporary shoeing. The respect remains, the chin-stroking doesnt and 66 million You Tube viewers cant be wrong, can they?
Nope Random Roads Collection is a concise smorgasbord of their finest moments, from the Blackstreet/Ronny Jordan-esque pulse of You Tube smash Dr Nick (which sounds like something else, but damned if I can remember what), past the pretty and cutesy Interlude: 2nd Happiest Song in the World right up to the cheeky hip-swinging Dup Dup and beyond. Clearly, Tummy Touch must be rather pleased with their new purchase theyve jammed sixteen tracks onto this bad boy, with only a few tracks bordering on fail.
Patillos forte centres on two talents - the kind of flute playing youd hear on a Jethro Tull or Focus album and beatboxing (yes, beatboxing) that youd commonly associate with Doug E.Fresh or Biz Markie, minus the swagger and the raps. For the most part, its a winning combination, particularly on energetic numbers such as Grass. When things go quiet, such as on the atmospheric Random Roads Suite 2 Adagio or Cherry Blossoms, elements of Philip Glass or David Darling creep in, revealing a classical bent that works better than the lengthier numbers such as Arco:Pizz and Visual Machine.
If you are new to the sound of The Project Trio, this is as good a place as any to immerse yourself in their resonating urban timbre.