TRITONE ASYLUM — The Hideaway Sessions (review)

TRITONE ASYLUM — The Hideaway Sessions album cover Album · 2022 · Fusion Buy this album from MMA partners
3/5 ·
I’m not really sure how the band Tritone Asylum got their name. The tri tone is the name of the most dissonant harmony in western music. When I first heard this band name, I expected some severe avant-garde jazz of the blaring horns variety, but instead, the Asylum performs fusion that is energetic and creative, but also quite often ‘radio friendly’. This is a Los Angeles based collective led by Phil Topping and Peter Sepsis. Peter plays the bass and Phil, who was originally a trumpet player, had to switch to EVI (Electronic Valve Instrument) because of an injury to his lip. They cite Herbie Hancock, Eddie Harris, The Brecker Brothers and Pat Metheny as influences. The performers on here are top notch, and the songs are often good too, although there are some that are better than others.

“Grasshopper”, one of the best tracks, leads things off with an ear candy melody voiced with double tracked trumpets that recall Herb Alpert, and that is a complement. There are two ballads on the album, the best of which is “The Road to Hue”, on which flute and electronic instruments blend for a nice pastoral effect. “Malawi” features Baba Sissoko, from Mali, on vocals and percussion. The song’s syncopated rhythm brings out the best in the soloists, particularly pianist Mitch Forman who builds an almost orchestral solo on top of the rhythmic foundation. The best cut for jamming is the live, “Simple”, featuring Ian Vo’s swinging tenor sax and the searing electric guitar of Andy Waddell. These are all good points, on the down side there are a couple tracks that just don’t seem to elevate as well. The EVI, (not to be confused with EVO), may be an acquired taste for some. At best, it sounds like a keyboard synthesizer, at worst it seems to have a wobbly intonation and a very wide track vibrato at times. Overall though, this is a solid fusion album that features some very top notch soloists
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