Trio X: Jazzing Up Colgate



Amanda Fox

Last Tuesday, Colgate had the privilege of hosting Trio X, an avant guarde jazz band, for a concert in the Picker Art Gallery. The concert has been in the works since last year and is largely the result of Professor Michael Coyle’s efforts. He explains that he “wanted to do something different.” The musicians, Dominic Duval, Joe Mcphee and Jay Rosen, who have been together since 1998, have toured in Europe twice and are neither typical nor traditional jazz musicians.

Producer Bob Rusch said the band’s music was, “like all art, it is meant to stretch and question. You might reject it. But just give it a chance.” Indeed, as the concert began, listeners were met with a unique and unpredictable sound. Rosen brought in the drums with a shimmering crescendo, eventually melding with Duval’s deep and steady bass. Mcphee entered with the saxophone so that all three musicians created a tapestry of sound that epitomized free jazz.

First-year Eli Raffeld, observed that “a lot of the time they aren’t even in the same time signature, but it still goes together.”

Before the concert, Mcphee took the stage to say a few words. He pointed out that the band promises to stay true to itself.

“We’re not doing Lincoln Center. Tell them to hang up,” he laughs.

This sense of loyalty to the music and the genre has inevitably shaped Trio X’s music. Sophomore Brendan Young, Colgate’s Jazz Director, notes that they “have made a significant contribution to free-jazz.” There is certainly something inspirational and exciting about their music; it’s strangely real.

The Colgate students that attended the concert witnessed a distinctive and stimulating event. Young had said that the concert would be a “different and intellectually engaging musical experience,” and it undeniably was. First-year Evan Lorey said of the band, “It draws new sounds out of the instruments. It’s pretty cool new-age jazz.” All three musicians were immersed in their own instruments, yet they flowed flawlessly together.

A reception was held prior to the event by Acting University Chaplain Mark Shiner and many gathered in anticipation of a band that is “as good as it gets,” as Coyle’s succinctly put it. Before the concert Mcphee said that, “what we are doing is trying to present art. Art that is living.” Mcphee’s statements helped the audience begin to understand the full scope of what Trio X is trying to accomplish. “Some may hate what we do. Some may love what we do. But you will not be indifferent to what we do.”

The event ended up being very successful. As students, faculty, and locals left Trio X’s concert, one idea seemed to resonate with them all: “they are definitely the real thing.”