Monday, May 27, 2024

Trifecta – The New Normal

The coming together of stellar musicians to make an album doesn’t always mean the end result will be something to salivate over, but Trifecta .. Nick Beggs (bass and Chapman stick), Adam Holzman (keys) and Craig Blundell (drums) .. have ‘form’ in being able to avoid this fate as The New Normal, their sophomore album, follows on from 2021’s Fragments in being a solid album of music which isn’t drowned in egos.

What connects these three guys is they’ve all featured on several of Steven Wilson’s albums, as well as playing in his touring band which they’ve kept going to produce Trifecta. With the considerable pedigree of each musician, plus their undeniable talent, it’s no surprise they can flit between musical styles easily, and do so with some quite amazing panache. Making albums like The New Normal means they’re free from the demands of touring bands and are able to stretch out, resulting in an album which is a synthesis of fusion-based jazz, but with a somewhat proggy edge in places, and it’s all kept to a series of quite short pieces, the shortest being only 53 seconds. With 19 tracks offered, of which 14 are instrumental pieces, three have vocals and given Beggs is known for being somewhat quirky, there’re a couple featuring witty repartee between Beggs and his co-respondent, one of which concludes with some amusing self-deprecation.

Singling out individual tracks isn’t easy as most of the instrumental pieces all mine the same vein, with touches of the Mahavishnu Orchestra occasionally evident, though without their flash. Album opener ‘Beck & Call’ is pure jazz fusion, and it all sounds very simple, whereas of course it’s not, but to play something sounding this simple demands extremely high levels of musical skill, which all three guys possess. Tracks like ‘Crime Spree,’ ‘Kleptocrat’ and ‘Daddy Long Legs,’ with Theo Travis on Sax, continue in this vein, whereas ‘Ornamental Lettuce,’ sounding like an outtake from The Nice, and ‘Wake Up Call’ are very prog tinged and ‘Chinese Fire Drill’ is jazz fusion with a rock edge.

‘Once Around The Sun With You,’ featuring guitar from Alex Lifeson, and ‘Stupid Pop Song,’ originally written for Beggs’ daughter’s band, are both standout vocal tracks – with the latter being released as a single, as it’s easily commercial enough for radio play.

This album will probably not sell in vast quantities, but it’s an interesting example of what can be achieved when three well regarded musos get together and just play.

Laurence Todd
Laurence Todd
Took early retirement after many years as a teacher in order to write books as well as about music. A long-time music obsessive, has wide and eclectic tastes but particularly likes prog rock and rock in general. Enjoys going to gigs and discovering new acts.

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The coming together of stellar musicians to make an album doesn’t always mean the end result will be something to salivate over, but Trifecta .. Nick Beggs (bass and Chapman stick), Adam Holzman (keys) and Craig Blundell (drums) .. have ‘form’ in being able...Trifecta - The New Normal