August 4, 2021

Trifecta is an amalgam of three superlative musicians who, while playing together on tour with Steven Wilson, often jammed together in their downtime, forming their own little ‘jazz club.’ The three guys, Nick Beggs (bass), Adam Holzman (keys) and Craig Blundell (drums), finding themselves with the opportunity, despite the many other projects they’re all involved with, decided to flesh out some of the jams they’d worked together on, and Fragments is the outcome. It’s an album containing fifteen mostly short pieces of music, with only one song featuring any vocals, the wonderfully titled Pavlov’s Dog Killed Schrodinger’s Cat. The album leans heavily towards jazz-rock, which Beggs describes as ‘Fission,’ which he claims is ‘like fusion, only less efficient and more dangerous.’ But this is Prog Fusion, with an undercurrent from the genre Beggs and Blundell are best known for.

While there’s no doubting the quality of the music on offer, it’s hard to single out any individual tracks as the music mostly has the same vibe and feel throughout, keyboards, bass and drums playing an almost but not quite leftfield take on jazz-rock. However, the playing on each track is sublime, the three players gelling together in almost perfect symmetry, with each musician giving the other two space to breathe and room to play in.  Adam Holzman’s keyboard’s conjures up a mosaic of moods, with the occasional piece bringing to mind Jan Hammer’s work in the Mahavishnu Orchestra, particularly on the track Voyage Of Discovery. Nick Beggs’ basswork is masterly, and his interplay with Craig Blundell on tracks like Proto Molecule and Nightmare In Shining Armour are highlights of the album, and if there are any drummers out there better than Craig Blundell, they’re keeping a low profile.

For this writer, though, the two standout tracks on the album are Have You Seen What The Neighbours Are Doing, released as a single, written as a response to Ween’s So Many People In The Neighbourhood, where Sci-Fi moodiness combines with fusion to create a delightfully atmospheric piece, and Pavlov’s Dog Killed Schrodinger’s Cat, with lyrics claiming ‘I’m wrestled to the ground by your quantum theory, I’ve listened to you talk till my eyes grow weary,’’ written by Beggs, he says, from the perspective of ‘a layman attempting to understand Quantum Mechanics .. and failing.’ 

Whether Trifecta are a long-term proposition or a one-off album project is yet to be known, however this album is an interesting take on jazz-fusion, played by three musicians of exceptional calibre.