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Exciting Trio: In Chicago There Is Willy

When he isn’t drifting through a melody shot through with silence, guitarist Matt Schneider works from a range of feathery, abstract sounds. Bassist Griffin Rodriguez holds things together with a handful of notes, and drummer David Pavkovic spends as much time with his melodica as he does with his kit. No, the Exciting Trio isn’t a typical guitar group. No one will confuse them with a Grant Green outfit. But their sound does dovetail with much of what comes from Chicago these days. On the trio’s debut recording, In Chicago There Is Willy, the band tends toward dry melodicism, gentle pacing and cool abstraction, touching equally on jazz and postrock, while lining their music with bits of electronic sound.

On “Remembering Tokyo/The Last Alaskan” Schneider subjects the gorgeous melody to gentle deconstruction over Pavkovic’s asymmetric drum kit pileup. Rodriguez’s bass glides just under the surface of “Lutrell,” the rich, evocative drone that closes the recording.

The Exciting Trio needs to strike a delicate balance to make their music work and on tunes like these, they succeed. A good half of In Chicago finds the band unfocused and carrying on for too long. While uneven, this CD is a promising start for a young band.

Originally Published