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CRIMSON JAZZ TRIO

Jazz Rock/Fusion • United States


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Crimson Jazz Trio biography
Consisting of ex-KC drummer Ian Wallace, pianist Jody Nardone and bassist Tim Landers, the Crimson Jazz Trio is a group of three musicians who play instrumental jazz versions of King Crimson songs (what's in a name?). Formed in 2005, the Crimson jazz Trio released "King Crimson Songbook, Volume One" that same year, and they are currently working on the second volume. While not a progressive rock band themselves, the Crimson Jazz Trio are obviously interesting for Crimson fans and prog fans in general. So if you're a KC fan and you like jazz as well, you know what to do!

(The CJT official website provides free mp3 samples.)

: : : Joren van Ree, The Netherlands (August 28, 2006) : : :

Crimson Jazz Trio official website

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King Crimson Songbook 1King Crimson Songbook 1
Import
Voiceprint UK 2005
Audio CD$64.65
$48.00 (used)
Songbook 2Songbook 2
Import
Indies Japan/Zoom 2009
Audio CD$25.26
$25.29 (used)
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CRIMSON JAZZ TRIO discography


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CRIMSON JAZZ TRIO top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.17 | 63 ratings
King Crimson Songbook, Volume One
2005
4.06 | 45 ratings
King Crimson Songbook Volume 2
2009

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CRIMSON JAZZ TRIO Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 King Crimson Songbook, Volume One by CRIMSON JAZZ TRIO album cover Studio Album, 2005
4.17 | 63 ratings

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King Crimson Songbook, Volume One
Crimson Jazz Trio Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by amontes

5 stars This is just a really great peace of work. Not a progressive rock album, nor even rock, but just a jazz album. The musicians re-do eight of the best interesting King Crimson tracks. The resulting material is highly non-trivial good music. It is outstanding how good are the musicians, only three, but some times it seems that there are four or five. It is very worthy to listen many times, specially for a King Crimson fan, that for sure will like everything related with King Crimson, as I do. Five stars, of course, less, it is impossible to such a masterpeace like this.

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 King Crimson Songbook Volume 2 by CRIMSON JAZZ TRIO album cover Studio Album, 2009
4.06 | 45 ratings

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King Crimson Songbook Volume 2
Crimson Jazz Trio Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by amontes

5 stars This is just a fantastic album. It is of course a jazz album. They jazz several King Crimson songs. the result is outstanding. It is impressive the way the contruct the melodies, at times, being difficult to identify what is the King Crimson song they are doing the tribute. You have to listen many times to discover the details behind the music. It is also interesting that they are three and only one of them was a King Crimson member in the ealy seventies. I cannot rate this album no less than five stars, of course, what else if not.

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 King Crimson Songbook Volume 2 by CRIMSON JAZZ TRIO album cover Studio Album, 2009
4.06 | 45 ratings

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King Crimson Songbook Volume 2
Crimson Jazz Trio Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by BORA

3 stars And the point was?

Some years ago I was "conned" into getting this album, believing that it featured Mel Collins, who is one of my fave sax players. I didn't listen to it then, but just recently dusting my collection it was time to hear some KC tunes in a Jazz interpretation with Collins guesting. Wow! Must be a nice combination, or so I thought.

Well, this recording comes across as if it was Jazz standards performed in an intimate, little club. The atmosphere is pleasant and the music is well, Jazz. The KC tunes form only a loose framework before completely unrelated piano runs fill the body of the songs. Nice if you like Jazz, but with the same token, they could have done the same on say, Fleetwood Mac, Dire Straits, or practically any other work that has a recognizable melody to it.

The connection with KC is former drummer Ian Wallace (RIP) - of course - who according to Fripp liked to tear the wings off butterflies. Hmmm, not very endearing....

Anyway, the music is quite OK and Tim Landers on bass stands out for me more than any of the others. Landers plays in a way that's both elegant and tasteful. Funny thing that by doing an excellent and unassuming support role, he steals my attention! Talk about true craftsmanship!

And Mel Collins, you may ask? Well, he must have been making the sandwiches and coffee for the band in the kitchen, but didn't get a chance to wet his reeds here. I feel ripped off!

Anyway, the music is fine, but not really something that I would miss. Good playing, questionable concept and I'd much rather "21st Century Schizoid Band" in it's place. It deserves almost a 4, but I wouldn't recommend it as "excellent addition", so we'll have to settle for "good, but non-essential"..

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 King Crimson Songbook Volume 2 by CRIMSON JAZZ TRIO album cover Studio Album, 2009
4.06 | 45 ratings

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King Crimson Songbook Volume 2
Crimson Jazz Trio Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

4 stars In a market congested with tribute albums and cover bands, the Crimson Jazz Trio offered something totally refreshing: new translations of classic KING CRIMSON music, in an entirely different idiom.

The second and (tragically) last chapter of their re-imagined KC catalogue stretched out even more than Volume One: interpolating original material, adding vocals, and reuniting drummer Ian Wallace with his erstwhile Crimson bandmate Mel Collins. Both had appeared in the 21st Century Schizoid Band, but that was strictly a nostalgia act. Inviting the sax player as a guest to these sessions not only gave the project more legitimacy, but added instrumental color to the piano-led trio, and a certain poignancy as well.

Both CJ3 albums, but this one in particular, offered a glimpse of what Wallace might have contributed to the court of the Crimson King back in 1971, given half a chance. Older fans could argue that the band lost something of its original warmth in the harsher climate of the Wetton-Buford improvisations, and beyond. But the Jazz Trio succeeded in resuscitating the human pulse hidden deep inside the avant-metal heart of later Crimson line-ups.

It might sound like straightforward jazz, but because the source material is so eclectic (ranging from the 1969 debut album to the double-trio Thrakking of the mid-1990s) the new music becomes likewise harder to pigeonhole. Even if the titles are familiar (and they should be, to any self-respecting Crimhead), the experience is like hearing the songs for the first time.

"Lament", for example, is more or less faithful to the original melody, with Jody Nardone's piano substituting for John Wetton's vocals. But the updated "Heartbeat" is a significant departure from its "Beat" album forefather, and truer to the spirit of Kerouac and Ginsberg, enough to make me want to trim my goatee and pull on a black turtleneck sweater.

The richer arrangement of "Hidden Garden" transforms it into a genuine song, instead of the incidental filler on the 1995 "THRAK" album (Nardone does the singing, and with the same sensitivity as his ivory tickling). And the ambitious 18-minute "Islands Suite" presents a mostly (I'm guessing) improvised, often free-form interpretation of the opening cuts off that 1971 LP, almost unrecognizable in this context.

The pleasant surprise of the earlier Songbook is missing, of course: this one is merely (and undeniably) pleasant. But it's hard to hear it without a lump in the throat. The album represents the final studio recording of the late Ian Wallace, who succumbed to esophageal cancer shortly after laying down these tracks. The instrumental version of "Lament", deliberately placed at the end of the album, makes a fitting valedictory. And the closing fade-out was a nice gesture too, suggesting that the one-time Crimson percussionist never stopped swinging his drumsticks.

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 King Crimson Songbook, Volume One by CRIMSON JAZZ TRIO album cover Studio Album, 2005
4.17 | 63 ratings

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King Crimson Songbook, Volume One
Crimson Jazz Trio Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars Former King Crimson drummer Ian Wallace came up with the idea of forming Crimson Jazz Trio in 2004, while still a member of the cover band 21st Century Schizoid Band.The more improvised parts on the King Crimson's covers played by the later pushed him to think of a jazz interpretation of the most famous King Crimson material.In a gig in Nashville he met pianist Jody Nardone, a King Crimson fan as well, and while back in LA, he met bassist Tim Landers to complete the new trio's line-up.A year later ''King Crimson Songbook, Volume One'' would be published on market by Voiceprint.Landers was also responsible for the recording process, which took place at Mudzone Studios in California.

In this album the trio chooses eight famous King Crimson tracks and decides to offer them back in more loose and jazzy formats.The idea of this jazzy interpretation is definitely welcome and trully ambitious.But what about the execution?Well, personally I would have a hard time to recognize any of these tunes as King Crimson's original stuff and that is not necessarilly a bad thing.Wallace & Co. succeeded to deliver eight jazzy compositions with many colors and moods in a very personal style with the jazzy improvisation being the main factor, while the execution is very nice.Plenty of good solos throughout with some fantastic piano work by Nardone and Wallace offering a memorable, confident and powerful drumming.I am not that convinced by Landers' bass work, which remains mostly down the shadows of Wallace and Landers, but he certainly contributes on the overall rich and warm sound.Still, you have to be more of a Jazz than Progressive Rock fan to fully appreciate the album.

An interesting idea by an underrated member of early King Crimson.Recommened especially to Jazz/Fusion buffers but anyone into King Crimson's long career should simply try this ambitious musical project.

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 King Crimson Songbook, Volume One by CRIMSON JAZZ TRIO album cover Studio Album, 2005
4.17 | 63 ratings

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King Crimson Songbook, Volume One
Crimson Jazz Trio Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by snobb
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Ex-KC drummer Ian Wallace US-based jazz-trio plays greatest King Crimson compositions. Don't worry, it's not a Tribute album, and not just a covers. It's real competent jazz trio, emotionally connected with early KC music, plays jazz versions of what you perfectly know as heavy progressive classics.

May be it's hardly to believe, but the result is excellent! Possibly, Ian Wallace's participation saves material from irresponsible transformation, but all composition sound very tasteful, with big love to initial material.

Even if the music on this album is hardly fusion, but just more contemporary jazz, played by classic jazz trio, I believe this music can attract very wide listener (and really not only jazz lovers for sure). I think this album is the best release of KC material, played by non-original KC team.

Very recommended - and when you will enjoy this album just remember there is Vol.2, album of the same excellent musical level.

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 King Crimson Songbook Volume 2 by CRIMSON JAZZ TRIO album cover Studio Album, 2009
4.06 | 45 ratings

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King Crimson Songbook Volume 2
Crimson Jazz Trio Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by snobb
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Second album by mostly acoustic trio, founded by ex-King Crimson drummer Ian Wallace. As it is stated in their name - they are jazz trio, and it's absolutely true. This time another KC-related musician - Mel Collins is collaborated as guest on sax.

Musical material is all well known - great King Crimson compositions, just seriously reworked to become contemporary jazz pieces ( some vocals are presented as well). All music is more jazz, than fusion, but excellent compositions make it very interesting, pleasant and accessible listening even for those without big love to jazz.

Main accents there are atmosphere, acoustic warm sound, melancholic tunes, and great material just found its new life. Musicians are competent, and happily not demonstrate their technical abilities, but tried to save originals spirit.

So -great ,really great result. It's difficult for me to speak about such kind of cover-work as about masterpiece, but I can just tell that it is possibly greatest of possible re-birth of progressive classics.

Very recommended - and not only for jazz fans. Without doubt - 4,5!

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 King Crimson Songbook, Volume One by CRIMSON JAZZ TRIO album cover Studio Album, 2005
4.17 | 63 ratings

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King Crimson Songbook, Volume One
Crimson Jazz Trio Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by ProgressiveAttic
Collaborator Eclectic Prog Team

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...

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 King Crimson Songbook, Volume One by CRIMSON JAZZ TRIO album cover Studio Album, 2005
4.17 | 63 ratings

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King Crimson Songbook, Volume One
Crimson Jazz Trio Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Slartibartfast
Prog Reviewer

4 stars King Crimson meets A Charlie Brown Christmas.

Well, OK the drummer, Ian Wallace was in the KC and the musical style certainly reminds me of what remains one my favorite soundtracks of all time. In fact, I tend to think that if you had introduced this album to the jazz loving public around that time (1965) it might just be regarded as a classic jazz album to this day. Even though the original King was known for embracing jazz elements on their earlier albums, these are tracks from the 1969-1984 era totally reworked as jazz pieces. Who knew that hiding inside King Crimson's songs were some cool jazz tracks trying to get out?

I think it is a testament both to the brilliance of Crimson's original compositions as well as the talent of the musician's involved in this project that it all works so well. A lot of the tracks you can kind of see reworked as pure jazz when you first read the list, but Three Of A Perfect Pair and Matte Kudasai work unexpectedly well. 21st Century Schizoid Man and Red were a bit of surprise, too. Cat, Food, Ladies Of The Road, and I Talk To The Wind, I could see. My favorite, last but not least, and not last really, Starless. Maybe that's the only one that might be out of place in parts back in the time before there was a King Crimson, but not by too much.

Fripp says on the liner notes "I have heard as if for the first time," these songs. I got the same feeling.

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 King Crimson Songbook, Volume One by CRIMSON JAZZ TRIO album cover Studio Album, 2005
4.17 | 63 ratings

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King Crimson Songbook, Volume One
Crimson Jazz Trio Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Vibrationbaby

5 stars Incredible eyewatering smokin' burn down the house post-bop jazz interpretations of 8 King Crimson compositions encompassing periods of the band from 1969-84. This is not just the finest re-invention of King Crimson's music ever, but an immpecable jazz album that evokes shades of Dave Brubeck and even more so the Vince Guaraldi Trio.

The idea for this ambitious project was hatched by the late ex-King Crimson drummer Ian Wallace upon meeting jazz piano virtuoso Jody Nardone during a gig in Nashville, Tennesee in 2004. Upon relocating back to LA they hooked up with master bassist Tim Landers who has played with everyone from Tracey Chapman to Al DiMeola in addition to forming the fusion outfit Vital Information with ex-Journey drummer steve Smith in the early '80s. To put it in a nutshell they just nail every piece featured here from 21st Century Schizoid Man to Three Of A Perfect Pair with passion and precision. Some of the pieces here are cleverly disguised using the magic of the jazzman's craft while others ar more easily recognizable. What they all have in common though is a very bright, fresh and very together sound possessing a warmth which is not present in the more clinical original versions wth plenty of soloing which is a testament to the improvisational potential of the original pieces. With superb engineering there is a live feel here as I could detect no overdubs or studio trickery. In particular, the fat tone Tim Landers' 5 string electric bass adds a lot of depth and he makes it sound like an upright double bass most of the time.

A word of cauttion, however, must be issued here for those expecting cover tribute versions. These are jazz interpretations of King Crimson music of the highest order and as Bob Fripp himself indicates on the liner notes if one is not in tune with the passions and appreciation for more straight traditional jazz then they might wonder what is going on here. For those so inclined though, this is an exquisite treat and an opportunity to hear the King Crimson creature as it's never been heard before wonderfully contorted, twisted and reconstituted which will have jazz afficiados nodding their heads in approval and long time Crimheads experiencing The Crimson King's music in a much different vein. What else 5 stars.

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