SPEEDBALL TRIO - Speedball Trio

Speedball Trio - Speedball Trio

7 songs
32:38 minutes
***** ***


My first experience with Moscow based jazz band Speedball Trio was two months ago when I learned that they were a part of experimental big band DEEBBBB on whose second album Episode II the trio left a lasting impression. Founded only back in 2018, they are now ready with their first and eponymous longplayer, which at seven songs and hardly over half an hour does keep it a little on the short side.

And yet short and entertaining records are far superior to longer ones that didnít know when to stop. In this case, the album begins with the fierce Butchershop In The Sky, an unbridled free jazz piece that comes with a jittery rhythm section provided by bass guitar and drums, while the saxophone feels like a holy roller speaking in tongues. This is downright crazy stuff that shows that aggressive music doesnít necessarily need a guitar. The following Mandarin Subway starts with a slapped bass guitar that could also have come from Red Hot Chili Peppersí Flea, although the remaining structures have little in common with the funk rockers. At a little under two minutes, Owl Poke is the albumís shortest track, but pleases with a Les Claypool like bass guitar and a saxophone that sounds as if it were talking to you. Truly great stuff.

Granate Skin, the albumís middle piece, is at nine minutes the longest track on the album, and also that moment where you can take a breather. The pace is more sedate, the sax melody has a definite Eastern flair, and the whole things gives off a vibe of a sweltering summer evening. If you hear parallels to Morphine, your ears and brain might just work like mine. Ugly Boy also somehow reminds me of Morphine, although only if the latter had decided to play a heavy jazz punk hybrid. Grind comes with tons of ultra-fast and angular movements, and shows that grindcore can even be played in this jazz setup. The album ends with Paindance, and I am not kidding you when I tell you that its beginning shows a lot of parallels to Dead Kennedyís Holiday In Cambodia.

It is permissible to compage Speedball Trio to bands like Naked City, Ruins and Zu, but also to the artists mentioned earlier in this review. What Speedball Trio have speaking for themselves is the fact that despite acting most always on the heavy spectrum of sound, they can still boast quite a varied approach. The quite competent rhythm section is complemented by a hyperactive saxophonist who just like that takes over the role of vocalist and lead guitarist, without the band neither needing one or the other. Fans of heavy jazz rock will not be disappointed by this promising and incredibly varied debut album.

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