Friday, October 20, 2006

Trio Beyond - Saudades (ECM, 2006)

Trio Beyond is a collective unit made up of Jack DeJohnette on drums and percussion, John Scofield on guitar, and Larry Goldings on Hammond organ and electric keyboards. With the glut of tribute albums coming down the pike it's refreshing to hear one that calls attention to the pioneering fusion band Lifetime, originally made up of drummer Tony Williams, guitarist John McLaughlin and organist Larry Young. This collection is a two-CD live recording that channels some of the energy of the original band and also adds some very interesting covers and originals. "If" is a straightforward groover with some clean sounding guitar over organ and drums. The organ then moves out front, cookin' hard before trading phrases with the drums.

"7 Steps to Heaven" kicks in fast and hard with some great drumming. Jack DeJohnette is inspired throughout the entire recording, no doubt by paying homage to his friend and colleague Tony Williams. "As One" and "I Fall in Love Too Easily" slow things down to a spacey groove with some probing electric keyboards. "Spectrum" and "Emergency" are the two most direct links coming from the original Lifetime Emergency LP and show the band improvising collectively at a very high level, with all members of the trio quite inspired by the proceedings and the audience roaring its approval. With these three players at the peak of their powers, this is a very exciting album and is recommended highly to fans of fusion or modern jazz in general.

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