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New singles mark a new era for modern jazz band Troker

Troker unleashes more cinematic, psychedelic modern jazz with three long-awaited singles this year.
Cover art by Karmelo Reyes
Troker Oficial Facebook
Troker unleashes more cinematic, psychedelic modern jazz with three long-awaited singles this year.

Branding their music as "psychedelic jazz tequila groove," the Guadalajara, Mexico-based Troker further expands their hard-to-describe sound on three new songs.

The slightly updated lineup includes the core keys, bass and drums trio of Christian Jimenez, Samo Gonzalez and Frankie Mares. New horn players Daniel Benitez and Cristian Garcia on sax and trumpet spice up the band alongside DJ Zero's creative turntablism.

Five years after the release of Troker's album Imperfecto, the sextet released "Noir Mambo" this last Spring. Driven by organ and keys, the ebbing and flowing cinematic soul groove is marked by the band's punchy sax and trumpet front line and supported by fluid bass lines and exuberant drumming.

July brought the single "Autómata," a tightly arranged delight with a swaggering midtempo groove supporting an incredibly catchy melody line from the horns. Garcia provides a passionate solo on trumpet, as Troker dials in their musical blend of evocative film scores with modern beats and melodies that point to Mexico's exiting cultural evolution.

Then in early August Troker unveiled the prolonged adventure of "Conjuro para desatar el tiempo." Opening with a flurry of manipulated turntable vocals and elastic keyboards, the song establishes a thumping beat any rock band would envy. Horn lines build in tandem, then call and respond to each other as the rhythm section locks into the heavy supporting groove.

Turning more improvisational, Benitez lets loose with a fiery sax solo before the song's midway chill out trio section where Jiminez gets to show off his own spontaneous composition. Trumpet and saxophone return in tandem before the song develops a cinematic finale that sounds like a James Bond scene set in Troker's home region of Jalisco - the birthplace of Mariachi and tequila.

Frustratingly, research on the band often leads to results in Spanish. Thanks to translations from my brother in La Paz, Mexico, I've learned that Troker have been involved with educational and social programs in Guadalajara and around Mexico. They work to bring free concerts to marginal and dangerous zones of the country with the intent to return jazz to the streets.

Though still unannounced, an album is expected eventually as Troker prepares to celebrate 20 years as a band. With any luck, Troker will remedy another long-awaited occasion and soon bring their live show to the Pacific Northwest. Stay connected!

The New Cool airs Fridays at 9 p.m., hosted by Abe Beeson and produced by KNKX Public Radio in Seattle, Washington. LISTEN ON DEMAND

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Abe grew up in Western Washington, a third generation Seattle/Tacoma kid. It was as a student at Pacific Lutheran University that Abe landed his first job at KNKX, editing and producing audio for news stories. It was a Christmas Day shift no one else wanted that gave Abe his first on-air experience which led to overnights, then Saturday afternoons, and started hosting Evening Jazz in 1998.