CD review: The Kandinsky Effect

(Cuneiform Rune 358)

Fans of the Leeds school bands Trio VD and Roller Trio should find this transatlantic trio worth checking out. They might not have quite that punk edge of the English bands, but they mine a similar seam, where rock and grunge meet jazz.

The Kandinsky Effect formed in Paris in 2007 when saxophonist Warren Walker from Northern California and bassist Gael Petrina, out Buenos Aires, LA, London and Paris (the boy moved about a lot) were two thirds of the Warren Walker Trio. The Effect was complete when the drum chair became filled by Caleb Dolister.

So, a saxophone trio, but with Walker using a lot of echo and other effects, and Petrina often playing chords on his electric bass, plus some full on rock and reggae drumming from Dolister, the Sonny Rollins Trio this definitely ain’t.

The band favour simple but strong riffy tunes, and although the rhythms are often tricky ones they work hard to smooth them out and not stress their lumpiness. And then, just when you feel you have the measure of their heads-down and go for the burn rock propulsion, they suddenly come up with a pretty tune like Cusba, with Walker turning almost lyrical (he manages to stop short of soppy).

And how about Brighton which feels like a song an indy-Americana band should be doing? Except in place of a sweet-toned vocal there is a saxophone, while the strummed guitar is in fact a bass. The drums are brush-driven. It’s a treat.

The band played a few dates in the UK last month, including the Vortex. If you missed them then, catch them on CD here. I’m sure they’ll be back some time soon.

Categories: CD review

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