The idea for Trip came to Rudy Linka on a long drive with his daughter, listening to such things as ABBA and Joe Henderson back to back. Linka's goal was to juxtapose "songs with totally different feels and grooves on one disc." This he does, backed by Michael Formanek on bass and Bill Stewart on drums. But a singular voice unites these 11 disparate tracks, beginning with the rock-infused acoustic guitar tune "Are We There Yet?" If only there were more acoustic playing from Linka--he gets a rich tone from the instrument, and it takes him into less conventional areas, not just on the opener but also the ballad "Leaving in Two" and the bright swinging closer, "Road Wide Open."
He's handy on the archtop as well, striking up a Meters vibe on "Road Jam," swinging briskly on "Minor Delays" and "EW From Here," using tweaky effects on "Just Another Detour" and emoting on the session's one standard, "In Love in Vain." His flair for melody comes through best on "Again?" There's something a bit plain about Linka's phraseology, but his interplay with Formanek and Stewart--two formidable cats--is often rewarding.