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3 Fervent Travelers (Bonus Track Version)

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Album Review

Time for Three — fiddlers Zach DePue and Nick Kendall and standup bassman Ranaan Meyer — bill themselves as a genre-stretching, boundary-demolishing trio with a sound all their own. They do have impressive chops and Meyer, the main composer, has skills that draw on a wide range of music, but they're not the only band in the land that's blending classical, bluegrass, Gypsy jazz, and swing in its music. Groups like Leftover Salmon and the Hot Club of Cowtown explore similar territory, maybe without the classical European touches. That said, there's still plenty of remarkable playing on 3 Fervent Travelers. "Wyoming 307" opens the disc in a dark, droning, classical mode, then slowly evolves into a bluegrass barnburner with DePue and Kendall trading off sizzling lead lines and seguing directly into "Forget About It," which continues the bluegrass-style mayhem with the fiddlers slipping up into their ear-tweaking higher registers, each playing a different variation on the melody while Meyer adds rhythmic accents on his bass. "Don Don" opens with a musical quote from "Jailhouse Rock," then Kendall and DePue play an extended jazzy, Grappelli-meets-Bob Wills interlude, dropping out to give Meyer time for a brief solo before their Bill Monroe-meets-Monk finale. The violin accents on "Philly Phunk" live up to the tune's title, while the solos range throughout the blues, jazz, country, and new music spectrum with unpredictable shifts in time, tempo, and timbre. They close the album with a classically influenced arrangement of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" that accents the tune's solemn tone, despite the rippling violin triplets that accent the second chorus. They close with a jazzy version of "Orange Blossom Special" that features Meyer's impressive bass work setting up the dueling fiddles of DePue and Kendall, playing at lightning speed and dropping Arab and Gypsy jazz accents into the mix. ~ j. poet, Rovi

3 Fervent Travelers (Bonus Track Version), Time for Three
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