Reviews of Attainable Hi-Fi & Home-Theater Equipment

Reviews of Attainable Hi-Fi & Home-Theater Equipment

  • SoundStage! Shorts - Livio Cucuzza on Audio Research's Industrial Design (November 2018)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Audio Research Past, Present, and Future (October 2018)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - KEF's New R Series for 2018 (September 2018)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Simaudio Moon 390 Digital/Analog Preamplifier and Streamer (September 2018)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - EISA 2018-2019 Awards Introduction (August 2018)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Simaudio's $118,888 Moon 888 Mono Amplifiers (June 2018)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - Totem's Tribe Tower (May 2018)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Amphion's Three Newest Argon Loudspeakers (April 2018)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - Making the Hegel Mohican CD Player (March 2018)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Estelon Lynx Wireless Intelligent Loudspeaker (March 2018)
  • SoundStage! InSight - McIntosh's Five New Solid-State Integrated Amplifiers (January 2018)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - Amphion's Krypton Loudspeaker (January 2018)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Anthem STR Preamplifier and Power Amplifier (December 2017)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - McIntosh Laboratory MA252 Integrated Amplifier (November 2017)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Hegel H90 and H190 Integrated Amplifiers (October 2017)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - How Hegel's SoundEngine Works (October 2017)
  • SoundStage! InSight  - Estelon History and YB and Extreme Loudspeakers (September 2017)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - What Makes Hegel Different? (August 2017)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - Estelon Extreme Legacy Edition Loudspeaker (July 2017)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Amphion Overview and Technologies (July 2017)
  • SoundStage! Insight - Totem Acoustic Signature One Loudspeaker (June 2017)
  • SoundStage! Encore - The Cowboy Junkies'
  • SoundStage! Shorts -- Anthem's STR Integrated Amplifier (May 2017)
  • SoundStage! Shorts -- Paradigm's Perforated Phase Alignment (PPA) Lenses (March 2017)
  • SoundStage! InSight -- Paradigm's Persona 9H Loudspeaker (March 2017)
  • SoundStage! InSight -- Contrasts: Dynaudio's Contour and Focus XD Speaker Lines (February 2017)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - New Technologies in MartinLogan's Masterpiece Series
  • SoundStage! Shorts - Dynaudio/Volkswagen Car Audio (December 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Gryphon Philosophy and the Kodo and Mojo S Speakers (January 2017)
  • SoundStage! Shorts -- What's a Tonmeister? (November 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - AxiomAir N3 Wireless Speaker System (December 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Bang & Olufsen BeoLab 90 (November 2016)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - Gryphon Diablo 120 Integrated Amplifier (October 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Dynaudio History and Driver Technology (October 2016)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - The Story How Gryphon Began (September 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Devialet History, ADH Technology, and Expert 1000 Pro (September 2016)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - Devialet's Phantom Loudspeakers (August 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - McIntosh Home Theater and Streaming Audio (July 2016)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - McIntosh MC275 Stereo Amplifier (June 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - McIntosh History and Autoformer Technology (June 2016)

201011_leadNYC Records / Buzz Music Records 6042
Format: CD

Musical Performance ****
Sound Quality ***1/2
Overall Enjoyment ****


Jazz vibraphonist Mike Mainieri’s wide-ranging career as a recording and performing artist since 1960 includes appearances with George Benson and Pat Martino, as well as some surprising turns, like his work on Dire Straits’ Love over Gold (1982). His fusion group, Steps Ahead, included at various points Michael Brecker, Steve Gadd, Eddie Gomez, Don Grolnick, and other jazz musicians who made their reputations in the ’70s and ’80s. Mainieri and Dutch guitarist Marnix Busstra established their current quartet last year, when they recorded Twelve Pieces. Marnix and the remaining musicians, Eric van der Westen and Pieter Bastis, are well respected in Europe, where they recorded Trinary Motion / Live in Europe during a 2008 tour.

Busstra wrote all but four of the tunes on this two-disc set, and his themes let the musicians show their impressive abilities in different settings. “Don’t Break Step” is an old-fashioned swinger, and Mainieri cuts loose with a nicely developed solo that evokes Milt Jackson. “Strega” is angular and modern -- not quite fusion, though Busstra’s solo uses electronic effects. The tune has a leisurely surface, but it develops an edge thanks largely to van der Westen’s grounded bass, which sounds as if a hint of distortion was added. “Piece” has a touch of the funk of John Scofield’s collaborations with Medeski, Martin, and Wood, while “Lost in Little Spain” manages to be convincing jazz/rock fusion without sounding dated. For all Busstra’s considerable talents as a soloist, it’s his writing on Trinary Motion that consistently demands attention.

Mainieri gives Joe Zawinul’s “Young and Fine” a masterful turn, with a loose, upbeat groove that at first feels more traditional than the original Weather Report version. But there’s nothing stodgy or old fashioned about the playing, especially van der Westen’s fluid, driving bass. Mainieri and Busstra pull so many new things from Zawinul’s melody that the song feels renewed. Mainieri is probably at least 30 years younger than the other musicians on this disc, but he’s an indefatigable player who never runs out of ideas. His two compositions, “All in a Row” and the title track, are as involving and fresh as Busstra’s. Bastis and van der Westen provide a solid foundation that keeps the music centered and lets the primary soloists spin off with confidence.

Trinary Motion crackles with the energy of live performance, and the players are locked into each other, open to possibilities and reacting to the moment. The set is smartly paced, and the nearly two hours of music contain so much variety and virtuosity that the time moves by quickly. Olivier Schutte recorded the performances in Belgium and the Netherlands, and Norbert Sollewijn Gelpke mixed and mastered the set at Studio Nopol in Amstelveen, Netherlands. The recording fully captures the dimensions of the small clubs where the music was performed. Some occasional distortion in the bass leads me to believe it was too closely recorded or, perhaps, the strings were too low to the neck. Despite that flaw, Trinary Motion / Live in Europe is a very enjoyable listen.

. . . Joseph Taylor