• SoundStage! Encore - The Cowboy Junkies'
  • SoundStage! Shorts -- Anthem's STR Integrated Amplifier (May 2017)
  • SoundStage! Shorts -- Paradigm's Perforated Phase Alignment (PPA) Lenses (March 2017)
  • SoundStage! InSight -- Paradigm's Persona 9H Loudspeaker (March 2017)
  • SoundStage! InSight -- Contrasts: Dynaudio's Contour and Focus XD Speaker Lines (February 2017)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - New Technologies in MartinLogan's Masterpiece Series
  • SoundStage! Shorts - Dynaudio/Volkswagen Car Audio (December 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Gryphon Philosophy and the Kodo and Mojo S Speakers (January 2017)
  • SoundStage! Shorts -- What's a Tonmeister? (November 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - AxiomAir N3 Wireless Speaker System (December 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Bang & Olufsen BeoLab 90 (November 2016)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - Gryphon Diablo 120 Integrated Amplifier (October 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Dynaudio History and Driver Technology (October 2016)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - The Story How Gryphon Began (September 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Devialet History, ADH Technology, and Expert 1000 Pro (September 2016)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - Devialet's Phantom Loudspeakers (August 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - McIntosh Home Theater and Streaming Audio (July 2016)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - McIntosh MC275 Stereo Amplifier (June 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - McIntosh History and Autoformer Technology (June 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - NAD Viso HP50 Headphones (May 2016)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - GoldenEar Technology's Anechoic Chamber (May 2016)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - PSB's M4U 4 Earphones (April 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - GoldenEar Technology's Triton Two+ and Three+ Loudspeakers (March 2016)
  • SoundStage! Shorts -- KEF's LS50 (February 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight -- Monitor Audio's Platinum II Series (January 2016)
  • SoundStage! Shorts -- Pryma 0|1 Headphones (December 2015)
  • SoundStage! InSight -- KEF's Blade Two Loudspeaker (November 2015)
  • SoundStage! InSight -- KEF and the Uni-Q (October 2015)
  • SoundStage! InSight -- Monitor Audio Acoustics & Aesthetics (August 2015)
  • SoundStage! InSight -- PSB's Imagine T3 Loudspeaker (June 2015)
  • SoundStage! InSight -- Hegel's H160 Integrated Amplifier-DAC (April 2015)
  • SoundStage! InSight -- MartinLogan's Neolith Loudspeaker (February 2015)
  • SoundStage! InSight -- Paradigm's Prestige Series (December 2014)
  • SoundStage! InSight -- Vivid Audio's Giya Series (October 2014)
  • SoundStage! InSight -- Totem Acoustic's Torrent Technology (August 2014)
  • SoundStage! InSight -- Axiom Audio's M100 v4 Loudspeaker (May 2014)
  • SoundStage! InSight -- Muraudio's Domain Omni Series (March 2014)

201011_leadNYC Records / Buzz Music Records 6042
Format: CD

Musical Performance ****
Sound Quality ***1/2
Overall Enjoyment ****

 

Jazz vibraphonist Mike Mainieri’s wide-ranging career as a recording and performing artist since 1960 includes appearances with George Benson and Pat Martino, as well as some surprising turns, like his work on Dire Straits’ Love over Gold (1982). His fusion group, Steps Ahead, included at various points Michael Brecker, Steve Gadd, Eddie Gomez, Don Grolnick, and other jazz musicians who made their reputations in the ’70s and ’80s. Mainieri and Dutch guitarist Marnix Busstra established their current quartet last year, when they recorded Twelve Pieces. Marnix and the remaining musicians, Eric van der Westen and Pieter Bastis, are well respected in Europe, where they recorded Trinary Motion / Live in Europe during a 2008 tour.

Busstra wrote all but four of the tunes on this two-disc set, and his themes let the musicians show their impressive abilities in different settings. “Don’t Break Step” is an old-fashioned swinger, and Mainieri cuts loose with a nicely developed solo that evokes Milt Jackson. “Strega” is angular and modern -- not quite fusion, though Busstra’s solo uses electronic effects. The tune has a leisurely surface, but it develops an edge thanks largely to van der Westen’s grounded bass, which sounds as if a hint of distortion was added. “Piece” has a touch of the funk of John Scofield’s collaborations with Medeski, Martin, and Wood, while “Lost in Little Spain” manages to be convincing jazz/rock fusion without sounding dated. For all Busstra’s considerable talents as a soloist, it’s his writing on Trinary Motion that consistently demands attention.

Mainieri gives Joe Zawinul’s “Young and Fine” a masterful turn, with a loose, upbeat groove that at first feels more traditional than the original Weather Report version. But there’s nothing stodgy or old fashioned about the playing, especially van der Westen’s fluid, driving bass. Mainieri and Busstra pull so many new things from Zawinul’s melody that the song feels renewed. Mainieri is probably at least 30 years younger than the other musicians on this disc, but he’s an indefatigable player who never runs out of ideas. His two compositions, “All in a Row” and the title track, are as involving and fresh as Busstra’s. Bastis and van der Westen provide a solid foundation that keeps the music centered and lets the primary soloists spin off with confidence.

Trinary Motion crackles with the energy of live performance, and the players are locked into each other, open to possibilities and reacting to the moment. The set is smartly paced, and the nearly two hours of music contain so much variety and virtuosity that the time moves by quickly. Olivier Schutte recorded the performances in Belgium and the Netherlands, and Norbert Sollewijn Gelpke mixed and mastered the set at Studio Nopol in Amstelveen, Netherlands. The recording fully captures the dimensions of the small clubs where the music was performed. Some occasional distortion in the bass leads me to believe it was too closely recorded or, perhaps, the strings were too low to the neck. Despite that flaw, Trinary Motion / Live in Europe is a very enjoyable listen.

. . . Joseph Taylor
josepht@soundstagenetwork.com