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Crimson Jazz Trio - King Crimson Songbook, Volume One CD (album) cover


Crimson Jazz Trio


Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.13 | 89 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

5 stars

The first thing I am going to say about this album is WOW !!!!

Here we have a very very talented jazz trio reworking (not covering) King Crimson classics... and, yes, one of them is a Crimson alumni: Ian Wallace, drummer for the Islands lineup.

Everyone can notice from one single listen of any of Crimson's works the strong jazz/improvised music foundations of the music, as a result of that the band developed a very particular method of songwriting which consists on free improvising (many of the times live at concerts) until they find something interesting to start working with. This album brings this jazzy soul to its maximum exponent with just an "acoustic" trio (piano, drums and electric bass).

The style of the this album has nothing to do with rock is simply jazz in the style of Dave Brubeck and Ahmad Jamal with lots of improvisation (sort of a crossover between cool and free/avant jazz). The most obvious relationship with this style can be noticed during King Crimson's 1969-1974 era, therefore what you would expect are renditions of tracks such as 21st Century Schizoid Man, Catfood, Starless and Ladies Of The Road, which, of course, you'll get but things get more interesting with renditions of Red (more bluesy than jazzy) and I Talk To The Wind (with a more symphonic and ballady style in its original form) and the band gets even more daring while interpreting unexpected pieces such as Three of a Perfect Pair and Matte Kudasai from the 80s incarnation of King Crimson.

Although the songs are completely changed and reoriented in style they still are recognizable and keep their original essence and some rocky edges here and there. This is so well accomplished that you don't get to miss any of the original instruments: not even Fripp's guitar; the vocals on I Talk to the Wind, Starless or Catfood; or the magnificent mellotron (yes, even in Starless you don't need it).

It is magnificent how each song is revitalized and gets a new identity through this band's treatment. Nonetheless it is important to note that some songs did actually preserve much of their original nature, specially Catfood (since the original is actually based on a jazz piano melody), Starless (It is outstanding since the mellotron, electricity and Wetton's voice are all absent) and Red (again, amazing achievement without electricity).

If these were original compositions (which they somehow are.... and not just because Wallace played with Crimson) this could've been considered a jazz masterpiece and essential together with the great names of jazz. That is why I am going to give it the 5 star rating although this is not progressive rock in the strict sense of the term (it is progressive but not rock).

In conclusion: this is what you may expect if during a King Crimson concert an outage occurs...

ProgressiveAttic | 5/5 |


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