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Trifecta

Fragments

Review by Gary Hill

Trifecta is (appropriately) a trio. The group is made up of Nick Beggs (bass), Adam Holzman (keyboards) and Craig Blundell (drums), While I mostly consider this album to be fusion (which is how it winds up under prog at MSJ, Beggs says  that it is “Fission! It’s like Fusion but less efficient and more dangerous.” From my point of view, this is fusion that has definite leanings toward more standard prog including nods to ELP and King Crimson. It is instrumental with the exception of one tune which includes vocals by Beggs.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2021  Volume 5. More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2021.

Track by Track Review
Clean Up On Aisle Five
This jumps right in with an arrangement that calls to mind Emerson, Lake and Palmer. The cut moves out from there into an up-tempo melodic prog jam that has some definite fusion built into it. This is a killer instrumental piece, and a great opener.
Check Engine Light
There is a bit of a bouncy groove to this cut. The fusion is all over the number. It has a great energy and a lot of prog style.
Proto Molecule
Percussion sounds start this. The bass joins with some classic fusion jamming. The tune drives outward from there with a lot of class. This is more pure fusion than the previous two pieces were.
Auntie
Starting in much the same way as the last tune, this is another that's more purely fusion based. I love the funky bass work on the number, and the exploration later on in the tune is incredibly cool. As strong as those first three pieces were, this is an upgrade on them.
Venn Diagram
There is a cool bouncing groove to much of this piece. I'm reminded just a little of Frank Zappa in some way. The dramatic, more exploratory prog based movement later is a great touch.
The Enigma Of Mr. Fripp
Suitably the riff that starts this, and on which the cut is based, is very Robert Fripp-like. In fact, there are a number of Frippian modes and musical concepts built into this piece. It feels like a variant on something from the "Starless..." to "Red" era. Yet it has more of that pure fusion element at play. The drums really shine on this thing.
Sally Doo-Dally
 dig the playful groove of this cut. It's perhaps more mainstream jazz than fusion, but it's entertaining nonetheless. Besides, there is plenty of fusion here, as well.
Have You Seen What The Neighbours Are Doing?
This thing is so cool. It has some smoking hot funky fusion at its heart. There are layers of spacey jamming built into it, too. This just oozes charm and style.
The Mute Gospel
I love the bass work on this thing. It has such a classy funk groove to it. The tune does have a gospel vibe. It's a slower fusion based piece with some particularly evocative jamming.
Pavlov's Dog Killed Schrodinger's Cat
The only song with vocals, this has a world music groove. It's more of a mainstream cut. It makes me think of Djabe to some degree. This brings definite variety.
Voyage Of Discovery
They fire out into another killer fusion jam on this one. The track has so much drama and magic built into it. It's a real powerhouse.
Nightmare In Shining Armor
I love both the bass and keyboard work on this track so much. It's a dramatic fusion jam that has a real groove to it.
Dry Martini
Coming in more mysterious and restrained, this grows out gradually from there. This is a bit less intense than some of the rest, but it's no less cool or entertaining. .
Lie 2 Me And Take My Money
The fusion groove on this is so tasty. There are parts of this that definitely call to mind King Crimson. Some of the more experimental tones are particularly intriguing. The guitar gets noisy and intense in a modern Crimson way. This goes from fairly mellow to seriously screaming zones.
Hold It Like That
The piano gets a chance to shine on this cut. The tune has plenty of classy fusion built into it, but it's also one of the pieces that works into more pure prog zones, as well. Whatever you call it, though, this has some of the most powerful passages of the whole set. There is a rather dark atmospheric part right at the end.
 
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