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Om Trio: Live

Bands like Om Trio are now the front line of jazz for young audiences. This outfit, a post-jam band organ trio, has been winging around the country in an ugly cargo van, following the same circuits reopened for jazz and jazzlike music by Medeski, Martin & Wood, Charlie Hunter and Soulive, and playing all the dirty rock holes that will have them. Live is Om’s little postcard from the front-a rough double-disc recording of tunes they recorded between several clubs in the American Southwest.

Defiantly unvarnished, Live catches the Om Trio in its entire groove-out glory-15-minute jams, crowd “yee-ahs” and all. Goofy covers, like the hidden-track rendition of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” or novelties, like the Teutonic electro-funk parody “German Dances,” may slide in concert, but no one is going to want to sit through these at home more than once. When the band sticks to the funky trio game plan, however, they shake things up right. “Spin Slowly,” for one, shows off the band’s slow burn skills, while a tune like “Hippopotamus” demonstrates the band’s road-worn talent for keeping an unruly crowd’s interest for minutes on end.

Overall, Live is a fine concert souvenir that surprises with a couple of great tunes thrown in for good measure.

Originally Published