Music Reviews

The Trey Gunn Band

Live Encounter

First World

Guitarist extraordinaire Trey Gunn is best known for his work with late-period King Crimson, but he’s gigged around a lot and has led his own band since 1994. In concert, The Trey Gunn Band features Gunn and Joe Mendelson on Warr touch guitars, which sound like regular guitars but better, Tony Geballe on electric and acoustic guitars, and a master drummer/percussionist named Bob Muller.

This album is taken from two live tours they have done in the last year. It’s great music, for what it is: intricate multiculti instrumental rockjazz music that’s not afraid to get heavy when it needs to. The first two tracks set the pace: “Dziban” is international math-rock on the delicate side, and then “The Glove” just comes in like Godzilla and kicks ass with some huge riffs set against Muller’s relentless tabla attack. It’s stirring stuff. Don’t play it around children.

These two songs form the general template for the rest of the album: “Kuma” is Headhunters-era fusion; the amusingly titled “Hierarchtitiptitoploftical” is slashing messed-up stop-start dinosludge with a cool Mendelson solo; “Tehlikeli Madde” sounds like a Buddhist power ballad; and “Brief Encounter” is the stately but warm soundtrack for the twelfth Indiana Jones movie.

But damn if this doesn’t sound just exactly like King Crimson. You can hear Fripp and Belew all over this record, even though they don’t actually play on it – “Arrakis” might as well be off ConstruKction Of Light or ThraK, as really any of these could be. I thought the whole idea was to have your solo band sound kind of different from your main band, but I guess I’m wrong.

But overall, it’s not such a bad thing. If you like the ’90s version of Crimson, you’ll like this. If you really get upset about lack of originality, then you’ll probably be slightly upset…at least, until you hear some of the cool-ass noise this band actually works up. Then it’s like this: “Who cares if this is derivative? It rocks like a freakin’ beast!”

First World Music: • The Trey Gunn Band:

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