3/21/2019: Geo Trio- We Made an Album! (self-released)
"Into the great wide open"
Is this jazz? Country? Western swing? Well, yes, though I'd say it veers between jazz and swing (including that of the western variety) more than anything else. These instrumental tracks are exceptionally adept at blurring genre boundaries. Geo Trio seems just as at ease with 70s funk as it is with Bob Wills-style joints.
And then some more. I guess this fits into "jazz" best, but even that broad categorization doesn't do justice to the breadth of this band's sound. And it's not just the wide variety of ideas that impress. These three execute those ideas with skill and verve.
Imagine the Dixie Dregs jamming with Bill Frizzell and (a somewhat calm) Ginger Baker. There are more than a few Zappan moments. To say the Geo Trio wanders is an understatement. But the beauty of that journey is the best part.
Set aside all expectations and just let go. There's no way to approach this album with anything except open-ended awe. I haven't heard anything this adventurous and accomplished in a very long time. Ramble on.
Aiding and Abetting.com
3/26/2019: Geo Trio- We Made an Album (self-released)
Every now and then, an album comes along that is refreshingly new and brings unexpected delights to the listener. The Geo Trio’s “We Made an Album” is exactly that. The Geo Trio, consisting of guitar, bass, and drums, cooks up a blend of jazz, rock, blues, and country music sounds into a delicious gumbo for the ears. Guitarist George Leonard III’s fluid, virtuosic, yet down-to-earth playing draws the listener in through well-crafted melodies and solos that kaleidoscopically remind one of Mike Stern, Mick Goodrick, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Chet Atkins, and Bela Fleck all at the same time. 7-String Bassist Matt Knippel and drummer Austin Andrews create a firm foundation as well as an undulating and vibrant carpet of sound that both supports and compliments the guitar. Matt Knippel’s 7-string bass solos soar up into the guitar range, providing a sinewy and inventive melodic contrast to the grittier guitar. Andrews’ glittering cymbal work envelopes the music in a bright, yet warm, glow.
The 8 songs on the album, ranging in style from Country-Pickin' to Jazz Fusion, were written collaboratively by the group. The collective approach works well and allows each player to bring his own ideas to the mix and to carve out his own creative space in the deftly played heads and improvisational interludes. Saxophonist John Gomez, who plays on two of the album’s tracks, brings with him a fat tone, angular lines, and insistent energy.
I highly recommend this album for those who enjoy adventurous improvisational music that provides both the comfort of familiarity and the excitement and surprise of discovering unusual and exotic new musical territory.
Former Dean, Professional Writing and Music Technology Division
Berklee College of Music