Trio of Doom - Trio of Doom
10 songs (39:43)
Release year: 1979
Unofficial myspace
Reviewed by Charles
Archive review
Talk about a super group, and talk about a power trio; Trio of Doom seems the distilled definition of both concepts, featuring as it does John McLaughlin (Mahavishnu Orchestra) on guitar, Jaco Pastorius (Weather Report) on bass and Tony Williams (shortly after leaving Miles Davis’s band) on drums. To quote the sticker on the front of the CD case- “three titans of ‘70s electric jazz/rock” indeed.

The 1979 release date entered here is a bit of a lie- this was recorded in 1979, half of it at a live show in Havana, and the other half in the studio shortly after. And it was only mixed properly and released by Columbia in 2007, long after two thirds of the band had passed away. If that sounds cobbled together, that’s because it is. The five live tracks and five studio recordings are the only output ever produced by this lineup, which was formed hastily and spontaneously to take part in a US State Department sponsored visit to Cuba- referred to by the musicians involved as the “Bay of Gigs”.

So, as you might expect, this is technically violent, high energy improvised blasting, frequently at very high tempos and with a heavy emphasis on gratuitous flamboyancy. The live tracks open with an almost three minute drum solo, which merges seamlessly into The Dark Prince, a weird, angular unison melody at great speed which explodes into fevered, jabbering guitar soloing. Of course, McLaughlin here has to contend with perhaps history’s most virtuosic electric bassist , as well as Williams’s intense and explosive drumming. It is pure instrumental indulgence, extreme and actually quite difficult to listen to. Then in total contrast we have Jaco’s surprisingly sweet ballad, Continuum, which reverberates with that wobbling, bass-led ballad sound associated with fusion era bands like Weather Report. It’s a weird thing for a band like this to pull out, but it sort of works, with the cleverness of the tune itself and the subtle splashing of the drum cymbals making for something unexpectedly sensitive.

Para Oriente is a sleazy funk-rock jam which injects a syringe-full of fun back into proceedings, seemingly delightfully knuckleheaded after Continuum, and featuring some truly virtuosity that for once seems to justify the existence of the bass solo. This is followed by Are You The One, Are You The One?, a free flowing, constantly shifting exchange of ideas. And then it is all finished, with the remaining five tracks being studio versions of the same tunes. Exciting stuff but not for everybody.

Killing Songs :
Para Oriente
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