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Album Review

The String Trio of New York, which since 1991 has consisted of violinist Regina Carter, guitarist James Emery and bassist John Lindberg (the latter two were founding members in 1979), is often classified as an avant-garde group due to its unusual instrumentation and chancetaking improvisations. However this Black Saint release is among their most accessible. Although not all of the nine performances are blues (Duke Ellington's obscure "I'm Afraid" is a ballad and calling "Hurry Up and Wait" a reggae blues is stretching the point a bit), all of the selections are given blues feeling. In addition to five diverse originals (including an eccentric country blues "Bellyachin' Blues"), the group performs the Ellington piece (which was apparently never recorded by Duke), Lee Morgan's "Speedball," a mournful version of "Freddie Freeloader" and a six-song Charlie Parker blues suite which purposely slows down and speeds up in spots to jarring effect. With the exception of the latter (which ends inconclusively), this is a successful effort, well worth seeking out by adventurous listeners.

Biography

Formed: 1979

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

The String Trio of New York has long been one of the finest avant-garde chamber jazz groups around. Formed in 1977 by bassist John Lindberg, guitarist James Emery, and violinist Billy Bang, the group was originally intended to spotlight its members' compositional skills, in addition to their advanced collective improvisations. As the years passed, however, the String Trio expanded its focus to include numerous commissioned works by contemporary avant-gardists, plus arrangements of classic pieces...
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