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Jeff Babko, Jeff Coffin & Vinnie Colaiuta: Mondo Trio

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Keyboardist Jeff Babko usually plays on movie soundtracks, as a sideman for everyone from Larry Carlton to James Taylor, or in the late-night house band for The Jimmy Kimmel Show. On Mondo Trio, the Los Angeles-based musician steps to the fore with an unorthodox keyboards-saxophone-drums lineup and similarly varied bandmates. Saxophonist Jeff Coffin is a long-standing member of the serpentining Béla Fleck and the Flecktones, and drummer Vinnie Colaiuta’s résumé (Jeff Beck, Sting, Frank Zappa) strays further than Babko’s.

The keyboardist’s opening composition, “Head Trauma,” even approximates Zappa’s rocking instrumental “Apostrophe.” Coffin switches to flute on Babko’s frenetic “Vote 4 Morals,” and the upshift in tempo suits Colaiuta. The drummer is a blur, showing a Tony Williams influence whether driving the main sections or soloing. Ditto “Five Before Happy Time,” a slower, off-timed groove in which he thunders over the vamp of Coffin’s sax and Babko’s keyboards.

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