Transmission, aka the Transmission Trio, was originally a quartet formed in Ann Arbor, MI, in the mid '90s, while all of its members were attending the University of Michigan School of Music. Saxophonist/clarinetist Colin Stetson, clarinetist Stuart Bogie, bassist Eric Perney, and drummer Andrew Kitchen gigged around Ann Arbor and Detroit for a few years, earning a following among local jazz fans for their balance of groove and experimentation. In 1998, they relocated to the San Francisco Bay area, where Bogie quite accidentally parlayed his day job at a deli into a quirky television ad for Levi's jeans. Meanwhile, the group played at numerous clubs all over the Bay Area, and released its self-titled first album on the small Audible Hiss imprint in 1999. Bogie later left the group and moved to New York City, where he joined the Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra, and also played with Medeski, Martin & Wood. He was replaced in Transmission for a short time by keyboardist/accordionist Patrick Ferrell, who later departed, and a few other musicians came and went. Meanwhile, a number of Transmission side projects sprang up. Stetson and Perney played together in the People's Bizarre, a chamber jazz group influenced by Eastern European folk; Perney and Kitchen hooked up with guitarist Roger Riedlbauer in the Burns Brothers; Stetson and Perney landed a recording gig with Tom Waits; and all three members played in Boostamonte, a big-band fusion project influenced by funk, Latin, and hip-hop. Transmission's self-released their first album as a trio, Tiny Beast, in 2002.