Ken Chan Trio

(Whitestone Record Productions)

Ken Chan, guitars; Marcus Konantz, electric bass; Byron Vannoy, drums.

Ken Chan offers new perspectives on the guitar trio format in this 2001 session; repeated listening yields some surprises. This isn't another homage to Wes Montgomery; rather, it's a thoughtful series of contrasting, modern inventions, each with different weights and balances.

The evocative, harmonically open originals, Cloudless Sky and Roadtrip, contrast Groove 3, an aggressive, pulse-driven piece with distortion and wah-wah pedal effects. Konantz and Vannoy are especially powerful here. The groove in Green Genes is absolutely infectious. Beautifully Strange is a probing, unaccompanied performance by the leader.

The uncompromising originality of these performances set them apart from conventional offerings. This is an excellent recording by an emerging group.

by James D. Armstrong, Jr.

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