Regular, not normal

Michael Vlatkovich is almost incomprehensibly prolific. He's got a septet, a quartet and this Tryyo. He also records under his own name and with a number of other artists. The man is busy.

Flying Box

He also plays my favorite jazz instrument, the trombone. The Tryyo adds Jonathan Golove on electric cello and Damon Short on drums. This unusual instrumentation is the perfect ensemble for Vlatkovich's sweeping, propulsive music. This is not mainstream, exactly, and it definitely isn't smooth. But Vlatkovich and friends aren't just making random noise. These are meticulously planned-out pieces, and they are insistent in their storytelling.

Ignore the song titles (which are funny) and simply dive into the music. The shifts of mood and tone within each piece are breathtaking, and the need to always be moving forward (even in the most introspective moments) means there's never a dull moment.

Vlatkovich's compositions lie somewhere between the anarchy of pure improvisation and the rigidity of formal jazz. He dances between the lines, and his Tryyo is nimble enough to capture that spirit perfectly. There might be someone in jazz I like better these days, but I can't think of who that might be. Another engrossing set.

Jon Worley

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