29 October 2023

Riotous rio trio

There are gigs that just have you musing for more. I've been listening to some tunes from Trio Grande the morning after and realising they'd played those tunes and recognising the styles and immense chops and interplay and improvisational intent in it all. Live, it could seem like a bit a plaything although with immense capability. Perhaps it was the smiles from Gilad and sometimes from Nate. Will, on the other hand, could look a bit lost in his work. His were the most perfect of inventions, individual notes then scurries, intervallic rather than substitutional, ever reasoned, then perhaps also one hand on the Nord keys for piano, sometimes second hand on the Korg synth for bass, then searching for a pedal to sustain when he returns to the alto for those fascinating solos. Devastating is more the word for Gilad, fast, then deliriously faster, chordal fingering, some taps, plenty of hammer ons and the like. I liked it especially with a distorted tone, biting and intrusive, but mostly it was clearer than than, fast but never flighty. Then Nate. I'd noticed the bass next to this stool before the gig and someone insisted he's on drums, but I wondered. I hadn't guessed he'd pick up an Ibanez 5-string to play half the gig or more with it in his lap, tapping notes to frets with his left hand, tonics but also fills, with right hand on snare or cymbals or whatever and feet each on kick and hihat, and working a treat. I just once noticed ra apid-fire 16-th note passage on snare (?) and felt that the timing was not quite perfect, but then realised every other timing had been just perfect so I hadn't noticed the immensity of the skill on this. And how difficult this would be and how servicible the whole two instrument thing was. I had a listen to some tracks from a solo album, I think a one-man solo outing, and it's a corker, with various instruments and those drums and singing too. Similar with Will and those glorious solos, on his album, too, and Melissa Aldana on a few tracks, too, for the tenor, I guess. And this is all with tunes written by all and at breakneck speeds and with the oddest of timings and some crazed heads front and back. Just one pushy, insistent, loud 90 minute set with these NYC masters within a few metres, this being a club with close quarters (if you play a few extra Euros for those seats). Trio Grande? I guess it's an illusion to Rio Grande and that works, although I don't think I'd want the title Grand Trio, but then I wouldn't deserve it. These guys probably do.

Trio Grande performed at King Georg, Koln. TG are Gilad Hekselman (guitar), Will Vinson (alto, keys) and Nate Wood (drums, bass).

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