The New Cool: New grooves for an endless night from Seattle's New Triumph
Seattle's The New Triumph released their third album, Night Trip, this week. Like last week's release of the latest from Polyrhythmics, and so many more musicians, the band is hustling to make the best of presenting new music to an isolated world.
Camilo Estrada, The New Triumph's bass player and band leader, reached out to me in early February with information on the band's planned springtime album release party. A month later, as we discussed KNKX sponsorship for the show and other details, pandemic uncertainty started to leak into the conversation.
We all know what's happened since then.
So, while we wait — not so patiently — for the clubs to reopen around the Northwest and for The New Triumph to return to celebrate their new CD, we can enjoy this fantastic music in the homey confines of our own quarantine headquarters.
Night Trip is an audio adventure driven by rhythms and steeped in synthesizers. Solos come mostly from the gleaming trumpet of Robby Beasley and the fluid, dancing guitar of Danny Godinez, with Mack Grout's various keys bubbling up frequently. Cleverly arranged ensemble playing, though, powers the album.
Most interesting is The New Triumph's increased use of vocals. There aren't lyrics, as such. But the band's voices rise in unison as an ensemble of instruments might, laying out melodic lines that bring the songs an extra note of humanity.
Leadoff song "Color Unity" features repeated singing of the song title, a la John Coltrane's "A Love Supreme," resulting in a similar spiritual feel. The song's message of cultural togetherness carries a new feeling of our increasing need for human interaction.
"Vida (A Klezumbia for Cory)" opens with the happy voices of band members laughing together, with occaisional Spanish lyrics and conversation rising up. A blend of klezmer and cumbia musical styles, trumpet and guitar lines steer the song through a pulsing beat.
The Cory in the title is keys player Cory Henry, who's recent recording of a live concert in Paris inspired the arrangement of the song's final section. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y2U7ShGxp1Q
Night Trip's title song carries a somber but hopeful feeling, directed by Beasley's trumpet, shifting up the tempo for a guitar solo from Godinez. A drum and bass break then leads to an epic trumpet and vocal finale. I imagine listening to this song while wandering a lonely beach at 3 a.m.
Other tunes continue to flaunt the band's impressive arrangements. Funky modern jazz fusion, world beat cadence, a touch of disco sparkle, progressive rock boldness, and breezy equitorial tranquility ebb and flow through Night Trip in a most satisfying way.
Masterful production credits go to the band in concert with Ahamefule J. Oluo and Mel Detmer for the sparkling sound of this album. Evan Flory-Barnes arranged violins and viola parts for the album's romantic closer, "Tantos Años," which also features Grout's tender piano artistry. It's a fresh, polished version of the song's live performance in the KNKX studios almost three years ago.
These are times dominated by pre-recorded music, and The New Triumph's Night Trip will be a wonderful listen on your home stereo or for solo headphone outings. The band has pushed the album's release date to June 12, but you can buy the debut single "Color Unity" now on their bandcamp page, and support the musicians who created it.
The New Triumph is hoping to trip their way onstage to play this music for you live as soon as possible. The party is sure to be a wild one, and you can bet The New Cool will be there.
The New Cool airs Saturdays from 3 to 5 p.m., hosted by Abe Beeson and produced by KNKX Public Radio in Seattle.