Though Coltrane may be inferred as the background inspiration for winds artist Chris Greco (sax, clarinet, flute), the real milieu is that which John and the era, along with Miles, spawned in fusion musics, as Trane of Thought is much more mid-ground on the way to Passport, Rippingtons, Pat Metheny Group, and similar ensembles. Greco shares the foreground generously with guitarist Brad Rabuchin who furthers the mode in reflecting Pat Martino, a toned-down Coryell, and Scofield into the mix. Then, when the two come together, Weather Report is conjured up more than once, so add Wayne Shorter to the list.
I think the Quartet's style might best be described as 'melodic bop' in some places, 'updated trad' elsewhere (esp. when Greco picks up the flute, harking back to Chris Hinze and Jasun Bjorn Lindh), but highly agreeable and inventive throughout, though not with the brainbusting extremism of Coltrane himself. The mighty John inspired many but few can follow in his footsteps…nor would they want to, his work still a matter of appeal to highly specialized tastes, a form blown well beyond fusion and into nether realms rarely visited—one frankly, even I still have difficulties with while much appreciating the boundary breaking.
Trane of Thought travels the routes Soft Machine explored in differentiated incarnations, a bit more serious than, say, Steve Smith & Vital Information, closer to Bill Bruford & Earthworks, groups like that. I'd even say that this is road music—for town and city, sure, okay, great, but more so for the open spaces where it can expand to meld with nature and the wind. And the venture should be had on a sunny day with clear skies, maybe an ocean nearby, like…yeah, Highway 1 between Santa Barbara and Big Sur would be perfect. Stop at Julia Pfeiffer Burns Park and have lunch and a bottle of wine, but don't turn the stereo off, and don't get back on the road while yer schnockered either. Just relax and watch as the day purples into evening and Greco's flute larks about in Merope, with Dean Taba's bass ambling atop Kendall Kay's cymbal sussurations. Then watch the stars come out in perfect synchrony to the music's rhythms and wonder why the hell you never thought of this before…but will repeat in the future, more than once.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2013, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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