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Always Be Happy, But Stay Evil

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Album Review

This is the second Garage a Trois album, now with Marco Benevento in the seat once occupied by Charlie Hunter, so it's probably safe to assume that this is the official "new" lineup. You hardly miss guitar, though, with the wild assortment of sounds that both Benevento and Skerik have up their sleeves. In fact, there might be times where you need to tell yourself that there are no guitars! For about the first two-thirds of the album, Garage a Trois come on like a rock band. Whoever had the idea to credit Stanton Moore with "drum pummeling" was right on target. He pounds throughout, mostly staying clear of cymbals and working it out on the toms. He's just on fire on tracks like "Omar" and "The Drum Department" (natch). "Resentment Incubator" has a nasty solo from Benevento and nice, distorted sax grunting courtesy of Skerik. Mike Dillon switches from vibes to congas for "Shooting Breaks," where Skerik turns in a great twisted solo (that's actually tough to identify as sax, at first). They finally slow things down a bit with "Thumb," with Dillon on tabla and some circuit-bent speak-and-spell at the end. After that, things take a turn for the cinematic, sounding more like soundtrack music. "Baby Mama Drama" has a haunting, Rosemary's Baby vibe to it, and the set finishes with a cover of John Carpenter's "Assault on Precinct 13," a proper soundtrack piece. This ain't no jam band: these are tight, well-written tunes that never overstay their welcome with aimless noodling. If the energy dips a bit at the end, that's OK, given the wild ride at the beginning. Good stuff.

Customer Reviews

GAT does it again!

GAT is like a runaway freight train. They push music to the limits and this is another incredible collection. Many bands that thrive in a live setting don't always transition well to studio albums but these guys are such pros that they are able to pull it off. In a music scene that is so devoid of fresh and innovative bands that push the limits GAT is such a breath of fresh air. Just wish they had more time to play together and get out on the road more often. Incredible work!

wow! what a great album

great jams all the way through this album. stanon really ponds out some grooves. marco lays down some trippy sounds while skerik infusses his insane style and mike just so dam good he adds so much flavor to this organized chaos. cant wait to see these guys at jazz fest.

GAT Keeps on Doin It!

If you are a fan of 'Power Patriot,' the first release from GAT after the addition of Marco Benevento, then you will LOOOVE 'Always Be Happy, But Stay Evil.' The album is straight through incredible. I already have my copy and have purchased some to send to my 'out-of-the-know' friends.



Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Garage a Trois started as a quick one-off improvised session that grew out of sessions originally done for Stanton Moore's All Kooked Out! album in 1999. The lineup -- Charlie Hunter on his eight-string guitar, Moore on drums, and Skerik on sax -- was basically the same for both projects, but the sound was quite different. On All Kooked Out!, the sound was upbeat and funky but Mysteryfunk (the first Garage a Trois recording) was darker and more atmospheric. Released only on vinyl, Mysteryfunk seemed...
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Always Be Happy, But Stay Evil, Garage A Trois
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Customer Ratings