Trey Anastasio / Trey Anastasio Band

TAB at the Tab

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Recording at the legendary Tabernacle in February of 2010, the Trey Anastasio Band debuted a septet lineup for this celebratory live set of older tunes, previously unrecorded fan favorites, and a cover. Anastasio, drummer Russ Lawton, bassist Tony Markellis, and keyboardist Ray Paczkowski toured together in 2009, playing many of these same tunes; the re-added horn section of veteran TAB collaborators saxophonist/flutist Russell Remington and trumpeter/vocalist Jennifer Hartswick, expanded by newcomer Natalie Cressman on trombone and vocals, really makes these tunes pop. The arrangements are tight but the spontaneity -- even in older tunes such as "Money, Love & Change," "Drifting," and the complex, seldom-heard "Goodbye Head" -- is ever present, giving the proceedings the very comfortable meld of a seasoned road band. The three-part harmonies are an enormous part of this album's appeal. Anastasio's baritone melds seamlessly with the voices of Hartswick and Cressman (just 18, and the daughter of former bandmember Jeff Cressman). Check the hypnotic funkiness in "Sand," as keys, guitar, and the rhythm section bubble up around one another moving forward steadily, step by rhythmic step. "Alaska" -- part of the TAB's 2009 tour and a standard number in Phish's current repertoire -- is presented here in shuffling roadhouse fashion; it feels like vintage Little Feat in its presentation. Two tunes that have long resonated with fans, the gorgeous "Words to Wanda" and the nocturnal, quirky "Windora Bug," both make their recorded debuts here. "Show of Life," a new song written with Steve Pollak, is a narrative ballad with lovely harmonies and an airy melody that underscores the poetic lyrics. The album closes with a scorching reading of Led Zeppelin's "Black Dog" with a ferocious yet sultry lead vocal by Hartswick. In sum, this is a thoroughly enjoyable, musically satisfying outing that Anastasio fans should delight in.

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