The Tribute Trio Unhooks Itself
The Tribute Trio—John Rangel (piano), Michael Glynn (bass) and Cal Haines (drums)—paid homage to iconic jazz pianists/composers in a series of monthly concerts from May 2010 to April 2011. Each focused on a particular pianist—except for the last. That final concert celebrated the release of the trio’s first album, Dedications, Vol. 1, which featured original compositions inspired by some of the pianists they’d been exploring. This week, they release Dedications, Vol. 2, with original compositions that find their inspiration across a wider landscape. On Vol. 2, the trio unhooks itself from specific pianists’ styles and explores its own identity with greater freedom. The high point comes in a tender homage to the trio’s artistic director, Victoria Rogers. Written by Rangel, the composition walks a line between jazz and classical terrains, offering an unguarded musical expression of gratitude that’s full of endearing quirks à la Satie (and à la Rogers). What the new release says more than anything is that the trio is its own man, with compositional skills and musicianship worthy of wider attention. You can catch an earful at the album release concert, where the CD will be available for a discounted price.
Music to Your Ears
When she started working on her new album, Green, vocalist and activist Barbara Bentree just wanted to do an album of songs she loves. Then, while considering the purchase of a hybrid auto, she began to ruminate on the effort required to go green—from separating your trash to retrofitting a house with solar panels. Suddenly, Kermit’s song “Bein’ Green” took on new meaning, and Bentree decided to “look at traditional songs through an environmental lens.” With a lovely, clear, well-pitched voice that has a charming girlishness in the upper registers and a pleasing touch of sweetness throughout, Bentree walks a line between wonder and warning. With pop, jazz, Brazilian and new age touches in sterling arrangements by John Rangel, who appears on piano and synth, the nine tracks feature fine work by Marcos Cavalcante (guitar) and Joel Fadness (drums). Drummer Dave Libman guests on “The Planet Song,” an intriguing anthem by Wen Mull that’s full of synth magic. The album—nominated for six New Mexico Music Awards—entertains while raising awareness, with all revenues from CD sales going to the Natural Resources Defense Council, PETA, GreenPeace, the Sierra Club and Bioneers. The album release concert, appropriately scheduled for Earth Day, will feature Rangel, Cavalcante and Fadness, along with the Rio Grande School choir.