Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Scorch Trio

Scroch Trio (group; formed 1998)
Melaza (Rune Grammofon; 2010)

Raoul Björkenheim (guitar)
Ingebrigt Håker Flaten (bass)
Frank Rosaly (drums)

Helsinki based, Scorch Trio have been active for over a decade now. All three members are successful musicians with various other bands and solo projects (most notably The Thing and Atomic). But Scorch Trio is no "jazz supergroup". This is a unit that functions flair and an intent on pulling at the boundaries of jazz.

Originally the group started with Paal Nilssen-Love on drums. He has recently left the band to continue his other projects. The even more versatile Chicago native, Frank Rosaly (who has preformed with Ken Vandermark, Jeb Bishop, Josh Berman and Keefe Jackson among others) settles into the kit chair for now. And the result are quite interesting for me especially.

I have to admit, I own all four Scorch Trio albums, but I haven't been totally convinced--that is--until today. I'm definitely not saying the previous records lacked anything. I think I wasn't hearing what I was supposed to hear (if that makes sense). With the their new album Melaza (Rune Grammofon), this trio has created a document with solid compositional structure that moves like a great rock/jazz album. Like Bill Laswell's Last Exit fused with Tony William's Lifetime and Mahavishnu, Melaza has really blown me away.

The title track "Melaza" really spells things out. It's a pounding bit of fusion that has all the elements you would want--swirling McLaughlin-esque guitar, deep wrenching bass lines and pulsating timing on drums. This is three minutes of bliss jazz rock bliss. "Fajao" is another stunner that truly how well Rosaly has integrated into the band. The interchanges between Rosaly and Björkenheim here are absolutely fantastic. "Raitru" displays the more improvisational and intimate side of the trio. Midtempo patterns with some nice individual colour expressed by the band members.

Melaza isn't going to be for everyone, but if you are fan of the above mentioned influences and especially if you are a fan of some of free jazz and eclectic releases from the venerable Rune Grammofon label, Scorch Trio is well worth investigating. This is bright, fun, electrifying stuff that's will turn your ear (possibly upside down).

Now I have to go back and sit with the previous three records and see where my ears went wrong. Talk to you all later. Enjoy...

This video is of the original lineup with Nilssen-Love on drums.

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