Pianist, vocalist, and composer Eric Byrd, bassist and arranger Bhagwan Khalsa, and drummer extraordinaire Alphonso Young, Jr., have recorded 11 tracks plus a bonus cut of improvisational music that is certain to take the group to the next level in the jazz industry. Having already established a successful recording and international touring career, "Triunity" is poised to reintroduce the EBT to their devoted audience, while opening new doors at the same time.
"We were and remain very proud of our last release, ("The Eric Byrd Trio" on Foxhaven Records)," says Byrd. "But for 'Triunity', I thought about developing my compositions to an even deeper degree and Bhagwan's arrangements begged for documentation. Of course, nothing B or I arrange or write can ever override Al's explosive drumming. He's the best drummer in the world and makes everything we do swing." Alongside Byrd's 5 compositions, Bhagwan invents a clever, chromatic arrangement of the standard "Get Happy" and even takes the lead on another standard, "Wrap Your Troubles In Dreams", composing the intro and outro for the tune.
Recorded in a day except for the large chorus on the last vocal track, "Triunity" also marks 3 new additions to the traditional EBT sound: The group uses an arranger from outside the band for the first time; the trio recorded the standard "I Thought About You" which was arranged by Byrd's former student and family friend Prakash Wright in a modern, Herbie Hancock/1960's type of vibe. And Byrd assumes vocal duties, singing "Just For A Thrill" and "Roll With My Baby", both made popular by the late great Ray Charles. He also takes a stab at "Come Back To Me', an old Broadway show tune. Last but certainly not least, the great saxophonist Paul Carr plays on all vocal songs, a pre-cursor to the long awaited project Paul and the EBT have always wanted to record together.
Perhaps the highlight of the disc is the song "We Are One". Featuring Young, Jr. playing a tribal beat throughout, the song's lyric is loosely translated as 'we are one' and is sung by Gerstell Academy 2nd through 5th graders. Their added touch to the CD automatically makes "Triunity" special, and the composition stands alongside other Byrd compositions as one of his best: "Sunday Mo'nin Chu'ch" is just an excuse to play the blues, "Love Letter To Lima" was written some time ago, when the EBT was coming back to America after having played in Lima, Peru. Two more songs are written for the next generation of EBT members: "Nanami" is named after Al's daughter, and "Lullaby for Jason Miles" was written for Byrd's son.
The EBT is committed to playing and presenting Jazz at the highest levels; nowhere else is this more apparent than on "Triunity." Byrd adds, "Just like I wrote in the liner notes, we are trying to play music with as much respect and skill we can muster. As I think about it deeper, I realized that Jazz or any other label can be a bit limiting to what we do. We are truly trying to play life, not just music. Triunity is a body of work that serves as a soundtrack to the three of us together. What you hear is what we are, for better or worse. What you hear on Triunity is our life!"