By Esther Callens
Set to be in retail on February 25th is the new CD from the jazz trio TRI-FI. Their latest, Staring into the Sun is a remarkable recording of some very great compositions. When speaking of trios, TRI-FI is at the top of the list by staying true to form in presenting nothing but the ultimate in original compositions.
TRI-FI is composed of Matthew Fries, Phil Palombi and Keith Hall. These fellow musicians share a unique connection as in their liner note it is stated: “Ten years ago we had this idea…Back in 2004 we were three friends who had spent a lot of time together playing concerts as a rhythm section to singer, Curtis Stigers. We knew we had a special musical connection and wanted another outlet to develop our music as a trio: music that is contemporary and personal, while still deeply rooted in the tradition of classic piano trios. That’s when we began performing, composing and recording as TRI-FI. Now this, our fifth album, is our newest collection of all original music.”
Little did they know that they were set to be phenomenal giants in the jazz genre.
There are 10 impressive tunes on Staring into the Sun. The title track is composed of a complex tempo that gradually transcends in rhythm as it progresses. “Josie Bebop” is fast paced and spirited. It is Hall’s masterpiece dedicated to his youngest daughter. Fries’ “Airstream” is a bright, recurring tune with lively undertones. “Cielo” embraces a flawlessly, relaxed arrangement that is mesmerizing. This is one of Palombi’s finest. TRI-FI continues to raise the bar for trios. This is to be expected when three great musicians get together for a jam session.
Matthew Fries is the past winner of the Great American Jazz Piano Competition. Phil Palombi is a Grammy Award winning bassist. Keith Hall is the director of the Keith Hall Summer Drum Intensive and is an instructor of jazz drum set at Western Michigan University.
Track listings: Open Water, Circle dance, Cielo, Airstream, The Night Watch, Staring into the Sun, Song For Butterfly, Josie Bebop, Compassion.
Album personnel; Matthew Fries-piano, Phil Palombi-bass, Keith Hall-drums.