Self-described as a “grammatically incoherent jazz bastardization,” the trio Thiefs captures all of the tone of jazz but none of its grammar. Aligned rhythmically with drum-and-bass and modally with trance, the group adheres to so many different genre parameters that they end up transcending the concept of idiom altogether. Drummer and vocalist Guillermo E. Brown and bassist Keith Witty, both collaborators with the late David S. Ware, temper their free playing with the calm deliberateness of tenor saxophonist Christophe Panzani.
The eponymous theft comes from synth-heavy electronica, French bistro music and funk, a genre cross-pollination that resulted from a 2010 partnership grant between various French and American cultural-exchange non-profits. (Panzani was born in Paris; Witty and Brown are American.) Highlights include “All Day,” which conjures tropical afternoons and endless hours; “Sans Titre,” an accordion-inflected Paris shuffle; and “The World Without Us,” a lilting showcase for Brown’s honeyed vocals.