The jazz trio as a format is as old as jazz itself. However, few if any jazz trios have sounded like this one. With Mike Dillon on vibraphone and tablas, Johnny Vidacovich on drums and vocals, and James Singleton on bass and trumpet, this is a trio with a common aesthetic of experimentation within the groove.
Experimentation may be the wrong word as all these stellar musicians know what they are doing and where the sound is going, but they all use effects in order to further their creativity. There is an airiness to this record, a sense of space. Dillon’s vibraphone takes most of the leads, but with a sound that varies from light to metallic.
The way he spaces his solos and chords intervals add a layer of mystery to the compositions. Singleton’s bass alternates between laying down a groove and darting and challenging the other two instruments. Vidacovich does the same between giving the songs a base with a steady rhythm or adding color and atmosphere.
With all of that, the songs can get very abstract but also can switch quickly from track to track. “Blueberry’s Diddy” is a grounded, bebop-oriented tune, but “Monster Claws” moves back and forth. It seems that the focus here is on sound, tone, and timbre and the way that all of those attributes and how each musician interprets those attributes can be mixed, matched, and manipulated in each song.
This extends even to Vidacovich’s vocals with his spooky singing on “I Don’t Know” and the standard “You Are My Sunshine” which sound like film noir soundtracks. At first, bones can be a strange and abrupt listen, but it grows and starts to make more conventional sense in time.