Faze Phour: A Twenty Year Retrospective

String Trio of New York

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Faze Phour: A Twenty Year Retrospective Review

by Scott Yanow

Although sometimes classified as "avant-garde," much of the music on this outing by the String Trio of New York is fairly straightforward, at least until the final two selections. The group's new violinist, Diane Monroe, fits into the intuitive and fairly explorative music quite well, and she swings hard in spots. Melodic originals alternate with classics by Thelonious Monk, Duke Ellington and Charles Mingus. Mingus' rarely recorded "Pithecanthropus Erectus" is a high point, while the violinist's "Groovin' Roots" finds the trio sounding like a very advanced folk music group. The last two numbers, a concise free improvisation ("Introspections") and bassist John Lindberg's episodic "Circular Views," inspire the String Trio to really push itself. The communication is so strong between the players (Lindberg and guitarist James Emery have been playing together regularly since 1977) that one gets the feeling they could stretch their music a lot more in the future. Although this CD is really not a "20-year retrospective" (there are no compositions from the band's earlier violinists, nor any renditions of "greatest hits"), it does serve as a good excuse to celebrate the unique band's longevity.

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