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Actual Stories

Double Jeu Trio

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Album Review

This one could have been called "Down in the Gutter Groove." Double Jeu is a Swiss ensemble comprised of Francois Chevrolet (no kidding!) on saxophones, Christian Graf on guitars, and Bernard Trontin on various percussions. Here's the skinny: these mothers rock! Intricate, groove-laden sax riffs are punctuated by guitar lines as big as a house — either played as single note runs or as slide triplets complete with a wah-wah pedal and distortion box — and percussive elementals that include a trap kit, gongs, vibes, marimbas, and all kinds of stuff. These cats are all able jazz musicians — one listen to the intervallic scalar complexities in the title cut will testify to that — who choose to stretch the format to include rock, funk, blues, and skronk in a dirty mix that is as heady as a heart burgundy. The scattershot arpeggios in "Turnarounds" are accented by a steady four/four trap kit beat that begins to loop the sax and guitar that in turn begin to loop each other into a frenzy of activity. "Blue Birds" comes out of the gate with a knotty intervallic structure that offers triple-timed drums against a reverberating legato guitar before the saxophone kicks in and blows it all into a ragged, greasy architecture that's reminiscent of Frank Zappa's rhythmic invention and the solid groove of Booker T. The final track is "Ping Pong," and it sounds just like it's title: rapid fire riffs traded between guitar and bleated sax lines that are capped by a slamming snare bolstered by a high hat that must have cracked off its frame. There are dynamics in all of this music, but they merely create the tension that the large riffs and grooves release into an orgy of near-melodic rhythmic intensity and a screaming, dirty-ass, bottom-heavy slip and slide. For those who are tired of academic avant-garde noodling and toothless rock and soul bands, this is it.

Actual Stories, Double Jeu Trio
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