Saturday, 10 December 2011

Sam Trapchak - Lollipopocalypse

As always some things just drop out of the air as a big surprise, and here Sam Trapchak's Put Together Funny - Lollipopocalypse CD is one of those. As I mentioned in an earlier blog posting it's always nice to get new music sent on to you by musicians that enjoy your music articles. Along with Free Jazz Blog (which I also write for), the amount of new musicians and styles that I get to hear is quite astounding, free jazz, grunge jazz, books and all sorts. Of course the time taken to listen to and write about these little treats can sometimes take up much of your spare hours, and of course sometimes the music is not always so interesting .... but I must say that so far I've been lucky on that count.

The album in question ..... Lollipopocalypse is one hell of an album, introducing me to new players and also to a new writing talent (and naturally strong compositions). In fact it was this aspect that jumped out at me when I started to listen to the album. Something that often takes a while to 'get into', or get used to, was quite immediate on this record. Sam's tunes are instantly attractive but also have a complexity that makes the music very interesting. One can't help but notice Dave Holland's  influence (or style) over the tunes, different rhythmic figures and time signatures combined with contrapuntal melodies, and also the groups sound concept. However, the playing of the musicians is certainly not a pale imitation at all but a very mature sounding band with their own voices.

 Long Live/Less Say (tk3)

The guitar work of Tom Chang and the outstanding Greg Ward (on alto sax) make the album a real pleasure to listen to with strong solos throughout. I particularly enjoyed Greg Ward's sound which conjures up the history of the saxophone, on 'Losing You' (tk5) he plays with a maturity that brings to mind Johnny Hodges' vibrato, slurring, and sound concept in general, however, on the other tunes Ward's sound (and concept) is very modern. The tunes 'Long Live/Less Say' (tk3) or the opening 'Different Dance' (tk1) have lurching odd meter melodies and grooves which provide exciting rhythmic territory for Greg Ward to really shine on. Tom Chang's guitar playing on these tracks provides an image of a completely mature player. 'On the Cusp of Cancer' (tk2) is probably the only 'rocking' tune on the album and here Chang opts for an out and out raunchy style which suits the music very well. Other treats are 'Tongue and Groove' (tk4) a simple melody filled with rhythmic surprises, the lovely ballad (already mentioned) 'Losing You' (tk5) , the surprise ending of the title tune 'Lollipopocalypse' (tk7), or 'Precious Few'  (tk6) a brooding tune with  one of the few bass solos nicely featured. In fact the quite presence of the leader Sam Trapchak sometimes makes you forget whose date this is until Sam finally takes a solo! The rhythm section of bass and drums with drummer Arthur Vint keeps this music swinging and relaxed on (often odd meter) tunes that are never showy, just tasteful.  

Sam Trapchak fits nicely into the 'CDs that drop out of nowhere' category, as new CDs (or LPs) mean new names to discover. On Sam's CD the only name that seemed familiar was that of Greg Ward (alto sax), the other musicians Sam (on acoustic bass), Tom Chang (guitar) and Arthur Vint (drums) didn't ring any bells - adding to the albums discovery value! Greg Ward, already a name on the jazz streets in the US, certainly helps this record to be a successful project. His cutting alto sax with a sound that moves between Johnny Hodges and Steve Coleman is quite infectious. Having said that the other musicians on this album all come through with the goods needed for this music and a very high quality at that. Certainly an album that I would recommend to anyone interested in mainstream modern jazz who likes their jazz music served up with melody, swing and a modern edge that makes the music contemporary.


Footnote : To save any confusion ...... the group is called (if I understand correctly) 'Sam Trapchak's Put Together Funny'. The album's title is 'Lollipopocalypse'. I didn't get any details of the record label but the disc is available via Sam's website or through CD Baby.


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