Blessed by King Crimson founder and guitarist Robert Fripp, this mainstream jazz trio rendering of KC tunes, exceeds expectations. But it’s not to infer that these folks aren’t capable. Sure, they’re skilled artisans, evidenced by first-call session heroes, bassist Tim Landers and Ian Wallace, (one-time-KC drummer). Add to that, the exciting pianist Jody Nardone, who personalizes celebrated pieces such as the garrulous classic, "21st Century Schizoid Man," and others. Not merely textbook readings set to the jazz idiom, the trio morphs a distinct slant into these predominately hardcore, progressive-rock works.
Nardone is a flashy soloist who possesses maturity and an expansive scope of ideas here. He injects rippling arpeggios amid accenting twirls and soulful chord progressions. And the rhythm section swings with a vengeance. Remarkably, these rock-based opuses sound as though they were composed for a jazz unit. Hence, the band fuses gobs of stirring sentiment into these pieces, to complement torrid soloing maneuvers and cleverly articulated spins on classics such as "Red," "Catfood," and other favorites. This project signifies the first volume where the trio covers KC’s songbook, spanning the late 60s through the early 80s. We can only assume that they will pursue the subsequent phases of the highly influential prog-band’s discography. It’s a late entry, top-10 pick for 2005!