The Run-off Groove 2008-01-09
Colorado may not be celebrated as a mecca of great music, but in the past they have provided a lot of good bands, be it Expatriate or Warlock Pinchers, and Schleigho, Fans there support not only local bands, but bands from out of state and trade with each other through websites like Colorado Tapers. Jazz fans are slowly becoming aware of 3ology a trio featuring Doug Carmichael (saxophone), Tim Carmichael (bass), and Jon Powers (drums). Like Medeski, Martin & Wood (and I realize that's too easy of a comparison since they too are also a trio, but bare with me), 3ology take in a lot of different influences and interests and create a sound that's deep, warm, open and... wait, that sounds like a Gianna Michaels video. Hold up one moment. Okay.
Their self-titled and self-released debut album begins with "The Inner Mind", which begins with the kind of swagger one might find on a Prestige or Blue Note album from the 1960's, but with the kind of groove that is very much of the present day. About three minutes in they get locked into that groove as Doug Carmichael starts adding a bit of color into the picture, as brother Tim maintains a foundation while Jon makes sure the paint is forever flowing. The chemistry between these guys is amazing, and anytime one of the musicians throw a curve, they each know where to go at the precise moments. "Gravelupagus" has a nice and smooth Sonny Rollins vibe to it, and just when it begins to feel a bit magical with Doug's saxophone work, he drops out and let's Tim and Jon talk to each other for awhile. Here, Jon kind of gives off that busy Elvin Jones thing where he maintains the main tempo while decorating the place with various hits and crashes which sound spontaneous (it may very well be) but he always gets back on track, into the groove again, Doug entering the picture and making sure to get himself a part of the conversation before the eventual end and final chime. "Mudbutt"... well c'mon, it's called "Mudbutt", there's only one way you can groove with that title. It's a nasty track, slinky, firm, and lush... like a Gianna Michaels video. Here, Tim's bass work (on what sounds like an electric fretless) forms the body of the song, and one can visualize a candlelit room for two, window slightly open, an invitation for what's about to go on inside. Tim's bass almost gets close to that Stanley Clarke groove, and it is THAT type of funk that makes 3am that eternal time, the "zone", the groove, the sway to and 'fro of the magnificent mudbutt (whomever she may be).
With a track like "Mudbutt" they can get very stylized but leave much room for improvisation, so one can assume that they take this a bit further in a live setting. When the three get loose, one never knows what to expect. That in itself might leave some jazz purists to leave them alone but for the jazz adventurous, this is what I'd call "perfect imperfection". In other words, nothing is perfect, but there's nothing like hearing a group knowing how to play and play well, and in the process taking the listener and spectator for a ride. The album does sound like a high quality live album, but it was recorded in the studio. I love the sound captured by Heath Hardesty in this, everything sounds right, you hear the musical qualities and dynamics, and one can almost feel the chemistry and vibe going on. When one feels the vibe, the only thing they can do is see and witness the music themselves. I hope they take their music on the road and gather up a lot of fans in the process.