CD review

TRYPL – “TRYPL”

TRYPL (Trevor Mires, Ryan Quigley & Paul Booth) – TRYPL
(Ubuntu music UBU0063. CD review by Paul Pace)

TRYPL, the eponymously titled debut album release, is the happy result of a long professional and personal relationship of three first-call UK instrumentalists, trombonist Trevor Mires, trumpeter Ryan Quigley and saxophonist Paul Booth, and their desire to combine their considerable talents in expressing their love of Latin jazz. Over the past 15 years or so, they have played individually or together in various salsa, boogaloo and merengue bands. TRYPL (an acronym of their first names: TrevorRYanPauL) wisely enlisted an outstanding Latin rhythm section featuring pianist Alex Wilson, bassist Dimitris Christopoulos, percussionist Edwin Sanz and drummers Tristan Banks and Davide Giovannini. The album was recorded at the acclaimed Wincraft Studios, Steve Winwoods’ private recording studio in the beautiful Cotswolds.

TRYPL album coverThe album’s opener BoJo is a medium tempo groove dedicated to two members of Steve Winwood’s touring crew: Bo and Jo, not a certain Prime Minister as one might assume. The ostinato bassline leads to tasty relaxed horn lines from the full horn section evoking the joyfulness of mid-70s, Horace Silver, Latinised jazz. Montuno piano backed up with bass, congas and cowbell set up a brassy trumpet solo from Quigley, who eventually soars over the emphatic rhythm. Booth’s post-bop NYC tenor sax sound (à la Brecker/Berg/Mintzer axis) of gritty expressiveness follows a dark rhythm riff underscoring the conga solo from Sanz preceding the horn melody. The playing is tight, complemented by great dynamics and a fantastic sound. Horns interplay in the out chorus in party fashion, running a little wild to the fade.

In following track Nodge, the music suggests a ‘comfy spot’ as defined by the title in the urban dictionary – or does it conjure up a ‘jam nodge’, a place where a band would go to practise? A high-hat count-in raises the tempo and the temperature. Proclamation emanates from the horns before the rhythm segues to a full-blown Salsa. The immaculate rhythm section interacts with the horn section and the solos and are never less than engaged with the music when the horns cut away. Quigley’s trumpet flourishes in the high register, his two companion horns joining in at the end of a short solo. Mires’ trombone enters the fray and is lifted by a rhythmic jolt from the section. A fast montuno and a piano run to the out chorus.

Bailar Toda La Noche (‘Dance All Night Long’) is a ‘feel good’ piece with Afro-Cuban conga and cowbell intro setting the groove. A McCoy Tyner-esque piano chord vamp picks up the pace with a darker feel overlaid with thicker menacing horn lines tracing an energetic bebop melody. The timbales break provides a springboard for the next bout of bebop horn melody. Gutsy tenor sax launches over the montuno, tearing through as a sweet and sour extended solo. Staccato figures to the fore of the trombone solo with a florid trumpet solo following, Quigley holding back as the rhythm flows under, before flaring melodically upwards. The Tyner feel continues with Wilson’s piano leading to a cowbell break that brings the song back to the theme with congas tailing off to the finish.

The group evokes Tito Puente in El Viaje Al Sur (‘The Journey South’). Over an uptempo Afro-Cuban ‘Oye Como Va’ rhythmic vamp, we hear the theme, then a congas solo preceding trombone extemporising on a four-note motif before the entry of the ensemble. Booth’s stabbing tenor sax solo proceeds to explore over the interactive accompaniment. A drum solo heralds the return of the four lead voices in the well-blended head – trumpet, trombone, tenor sax and flute – the latter playing obligato on the out chorus.

In Scallywag, inspired by Mires’ two young sons, a splash of horns kickstarts a galloping merengue. Once the tricky note cluster of the theme is stated, the drums tame the tempo to bring in a languorous trombone solo followed by a vocalised effected bass solo and then back to a running pace under a spirited soprano sax solo. This is counterpointed by a darkened mood represented by horn swathes fattened out by bass clarinet. Interplay of drums and congas precede the horn blast plus the theme to take us frenetically via collective improvisation and trading of phrases to fade.

Pasado (‘Forgotten Past’) has a declamatory opening that merges into a complex theme carried by the horns at a fast tempo. Quigley soars over the rhythmic section with a melancholic minor feel to the solos. Mires navigates the changes over jabbing piano followed by a fruity tenor solo from Booth. Next up is an epic piano solo from Wilson that cascades into choppiness and note flurries before a more emphatic cascade brings in the horns’ out chorus. Eventually a percussion/drums interplay tag is brought to a conclusion with a subtle strumming of the piano strings.

A snatch of studio banter features in Tres Palabras (‘Three Words’): ‘it’s like my art project’ followed by laughter shows what fun was had at the session and the camaraderie among the musicians on this project. This is the one non-original on the album, a ballad composed by the Cuban songwriter Osvaldo Farrés, best known as composer of the much covered Quizas, Quizas, Quizas. Paul Booth, who during his tenure with Latin bands performed this tender ballad numerous times, brought this to the table. Brushes and a sensitive rhythm accompany a heart-wrenching tenor solo from Booth and sonorous melodic improvisation from Quigley.

Sacudido No Revuelto (‘Shaken Not Stirred’) is a mid-tempo stroll and the most laid-back track. After a wide ranging horn theme, tenor sax solo and piano solo, the horns return to a legato theme. The military drum figure stop precedes another strong montuno and mood change from Wilson. We hear congas and handclaps merging into a trumpet solo reaching for the sky over a triple horn riff to fade.

The tempo picks up for the final tune Here We Go with a simple two-note rhythm riff plus a bop-ish theme played by the horns. The trombone solo emerges from the theme then makes way for telling tenor sax solo. Clangorous piano figures tighten into a pretty solo before rumbling cascades segue to a strident trombone solo exploring the piece’s structure. The two-note riff returns and is overlaid with the singing bop theme by the horns, subsequently decelerating to the song’s finish.

This album exudes tremendous enjoyment and is a testament to the healing power of Latin jazz at its best.

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