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 aren't 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 doesn't and 66 million You Tube viewers can't 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 – they've jammed sixteen tracks onto this bad boy, with only a few tracks bordering on 'fail'.
Patillo's forte centres on two talents - the kind of flute playing you'd hear on a Jethro Tull or Focus album and beatboxing (yes, beatboxing) that you'd commonly associate with Doug E.Fresh or Biz Markie, minus the swagger and the raps. For the most part, it's 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.