This week’s byrdcall is that of a group very near and dear to my heart: AMP Trio. At first glance it might be easy to notice that their names Addison Frei (piano), Matt Young (drums), and Perrin Grace (bass) generate the acronym “AMP”, but at first listen one realizes that their union of names so clearly reflects their union as musicians. Although each member originally reigns from a different part of the country, they all share roots in Denton, TX where they studied music at the University of North Texas (UNT). It was there that they recorded their sophomore album m(y)our world as an online video series and audio cd (released November 6, 2015).
Whether it’s the straight-ahead style of “Phil’s Bill”, the modern sound and odd meter of “Culture”, or the easy Latin feel of “Stand By You”, there’s a little something for every jazz listener here. Much like their 2013 debut album Flow, m(y)our world boasts an array of original tunes by each of the three members, but additionally features the talents of guitarist Brad Kang, organist Drew Zaremba, percussionist Nick Rothouse, and vocalist Tahira Clayton — all UNT graduates and musical peers. The pensive title track “m(y)our world” and nostalgic “Circa” by Young are both elevated to the next level with Kang’s dexterous and atmospheric guitar playing while Zaremba and Rothouse help reveal the golden hues of Grace’s “Sun Rays”. Clayton (who has accompanied the trio on tours in the United States and Canada) has a soulful and deeply expressive voice that appears on several of the tracks including the captivating “Boundlessly in Balance” written by Frei and the hazy “Dallas” by Grace.
It isn’t surprising that these young, talented, award-winning improvisers and composers have combined to form a trio with such undeniable chemistry, but it is surprising that they aren’t as well known. If you like what you hear be sure to buy the album, check out their individual artist pages, and go see them play!