Dann Zinn – Shangri La

Trios aren’t supposed to sound like ensembles. Perhaps Dann Zinn didn’t get that memo. Shangri La (2014) only has three musicians, each playing multiple instruments, coming together with a sound bigger than the size of the group implies.

Zinn plays tenor saxophone, processed sax and wood flute. With him are Peter Erskine, drums, hand drums, tambourine and shakers; and Chris Robinson, guitar, baritone guitar, guitar loops and ukulele.

“Daydreams” lulls you into a false sense of restfulness with its tranquil opening. Then, like a brick crashing through a window, it startles you awake. Erkine’s hand drumming and Robinson’s soft rhythm guitar set the mood. The rich tenor comes in to move the dream forward. Then, just when you start to figure out what’s going on, comes the crash. The music shift gears into something powerful and electric. Erskine picks up the sticks and puts his kit through a workout. Robinson cranks up his guitar a notch. And Zinn gets busy. After his run, he steps aside. Robinson takes point while Erskine tears it up in the background. When Zinn returns, the trio blasts off for an intense climax.

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