SoCal's South Bay used to have a prog band, Underwater Traffic, that never got the reception it deserved. The area is most emphatically not an intellectual's paradise nor minded to sit still for music deriving from any region or estate other than crotch or drugged stupor (neither of which I'm disinclined towards, but everything in its place, no?). Underwater Traffic boasted a roster of highly talented and innovative cats but shone especially in two of them. One was James Musser, a multi-instrumental guitarist who constantly puts the sweat on Carl Verheyen every time they're pitted against each other in Hollywood-L.A. axeslinger duels, and the other was the guy who cut this disc, Trevor Lloyd, a multi-instrumental violinist. This is his first solo CD, playing everything except drums on one track (played by Musser).
Lloyd studied under Manuel Compinsky of the NBC Symphony, had the San Fernando Valley Symphony perform one of his classical pieces, but also just finished touring with Boomer McLennan and the Rhythm Rangers, so he's not a stranger to the worlds outside prog. One of his major influences is the heavenly Jean-Luc Ponty and a few cuts here reflect that well, especially Timewheels, where Lloyd plays the raspbox and keys just like the French wizard, though his string sound ranges equally to Didier Lockwood, a bit of Richard Greene, David Rose, and some of the other more refined players in rock-jazz. His tone's marvelous and much of the tempo mellowly swingin', though Silent Mist is a largo of lethean deeps, a lullabye, a leisurely and far less anguished companion to Hisako Yamash'ta's Wind Words. It's followed by Corridors, the most progressive track and one of several choicest cuts, with serial minimal backgrounds and long chases through labytrinths.
There's a bit of Canterbury through much of Tendencies, a good deal of percolating activity, but Not a Sonata is a pensively hesitant tune, a violin/piano piece contemplating its direction and motives, the furthest away from rock structure in the entire compendium, striking for its ability to hold the song through so much diversity, neoclassical but Romantic in essence. For pure singularity, this is the track for college and intellectually oriented airwaves, in many ways a tour de force and well companioned by its follower, Siberian Stomp. The whole venture closes with a piano solo displaying some of the innovations he brought to Underwater Traffic, almost Banco-ish and the sort of boundary stretcher that he and Musser excelled in. It needs to be a 15-minute Jarrett exploration, though, rather than the 4:15 it occupies—Lloyd has far too many good ideas to be confined to time strictures. Hardly matters, though, as good as this CD, a little brevity just whets the appetite for the next one.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
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