Music News

Garage A Trois

A quartet masquerading as a trio, Garage A Trois sounds a lot better than it looks on paper. The biggest name in the band is guitarist Charlie Hunter, a legit jazzbo (he's spent much of his career recording for Blue Note), albeit a notably accessible one. In contrast, saxophonist/keyboardist Skerik, vibraphonist/percussionist Mike Dillon and drummer Stanton Moore are best known for jammy rock and funk made with the likes of Galactic, Critters Buggin and Les Claypool's Frog Brigade. Their teaming could easily have resulted in either watered-down improvisation or a pretentious variation on noodle-dancing music. Instead, Outre Mer, the combo's new disc on the Telarc imprint, emerges as a thoroughly enjoyable synthesis of styles. The CD consists of material created for the score of a film overseen by producer/director Klaus Tontine, yet tunes such as "Circus," "The Machine" and the title track have no trouble transcending the usual soundtrack limitations. Throughout, worldbeat-influenced rhythms laid down by Dillon and Moore bring out the playfulness in Hunter and Skerik, and their sense of fun is infectious. For those reasons and more, plenty of pleasant surprises await anyone who thinks he knows what's parked in this Garage. -- Michael Roberts