It was a return visit and a farewell party when the Tyrant Lizard trio performed in the knkx studios recently.
Bass player Carmen Rothwell had already relocated to New York City and guitarist Gregg Belisle-Chi was just days away from following her, leaving trumpeter Raymond Larsen to reassure us this wouldn't be the last we hear from this dynamic Northwest-grown threesome.
Asked about the deliberate pace of their songs, Belisle-Chi said he doesn't consider Tyrant Lizard to be a "ballads" group, but they embrace the "ethereal" description and noted how intense listening leads the band to consider every note they play.
Their new self-titled CD is full of Larson's compositions and a couple old standards, with subtle echo effects on his trumpet and Belisle-Chi's guitar.
Rothwell, recently celebrated as one of the 10 women instrumentalists who redefine jazz, is the group's spine from which the band's music pulses like a nervous system.
Drawing influences from Seattle mentors like Wayne Horvitz, Cuong Vu and maybe even guitarist Bill Frisell, Tyrant Lizard draws inspiration from folk and Americana music, evoking wide-open spaces that would allow plenty of elbow room for a prehistoric beast or adventurous improvisation.
The album is full of style, intriguing melody, and most of all beauty. You can listen to the album and buy a few copies on their bandcamp site here, and knkx has two copies of the CD and you can enter to win a copy here. Good luck! And thanks for listening to The New Cool on 88.5 FM and knkx.org.
The New Cool airs Saturdays at 3:00 p.m. The program is hosted by Abe Beeson and produced by KNKX Public Radio in Seattle, Wash.