Jeff Parker/Francis Wong//Elliot Humberto Kavee/Tatsu Aoki: Three Big Guys Plus One

Three Big Guys Plus One are a trio plus one, consisting of guitar, horn, drums and a bass. How “big” they will get depends on their musicianship and let us hope that there are bigger things to come.

None of the seventeen songs on the self titled album have names. They are all just named Three Big 1 through 17. There are times that if there was not a fade out, there is no telling when and where one song starts and the other one has ended.

Down to the music. “The Big Three Plus One” consist of Jeff Parker on guitar, Francis Wong on horn, Elliot Humberto Kavee on drums and Tatsu Aoki on bass. The liner notes suggest that these are “inspirational” compositions written out on hotel napkins. It is difficult to ascertain any sort of direction that the seventeen tracks have or want to go – How can you have improvisations and compositions at the same time?

Jeff Parker plays okay throughout the album. It would have been nice to hear more from him. He sounds like a background Joe Pass at times. Francis Wong on horns and Elliot Humberto Kavee appear to be the only ones up front. “Three Big Six” has some sort of wail throughout the song and it is indiscernible.

There are times when improvisation works and there are times when it does not work. For “Three Big Guys Plus One,” there is a feeling that three of the four are lost and only one has the map.