Local jazz group Alex Schrock Trio released their new album Punk Jazz on Tuesday, September 6th, which is available for sampling and purchase here. Guitarist Schrock’s second trio recording, in addition to his beatscape/production work under the Gradient Prophet moniker, the album was recorded with drummer Ryan Jewell and bassist Chad Greenwald at Oranjudio Recording Studio by engineer Joey Gurwin. Punk Jazz is comprised of six Schrock compositions of various vintages that have evolved through numerous live performances, resulting in an extremely pleasing collection drawing from classic guitar trios and more modern, electric material. To experience these tunes in the live setting, catch the Alex Schrock Trio on the Retropolis Stage at the Independents’ Day Festival in Franklinton on Saturday, September 17th at noon. Keep reading for my thoughts on the album and sample tracks:
The album opens with “Sunflowers (Mikaeri Bijin),” a track that starts with abstract guitar and drums before Jewell settles into a rolling rhythm and Schrock eventually builds to nimble pyrotechnics. “Origami Dreams” slows things down a bit, and the combination of Greenwald’s buoyant bass and Jewell’s breezy brushwork powers Schrock’s steady lead. Schrock’s blurry, stargazing intro on “Soul Shuttle” gives way to a loose and fluid melody, once again powered by the locked-in rhythm section that stops, starts, and shifts on a dime before the trio drops down a gear and builds to a measured climax. After an understated chorus, Greenwald and Schrock play intricate matching lines and then trade bars on the dynamic “Limitless” before Schrock ascends and sets up a pulsing conclusion, with Jewell’s rapid-fire fills adding drama. The title and sharp lines of “Icy” seem to belie a warm core, with a friendly call-and-response setting up more passionate explorations by Schrock. “Not My Blues” is the perfect closer, as its funky underbelly and Greenwald’s big and bright bass solo shows the trio relaxed and ready to let out the stops before heading home.
Punk Jazz showcases Schrock’s skilled compositions and adept guitar-work leading a tight, well-honed trio that plays as a cohesive unit. This album is recommended for fans of both classic and modern jazz guitar trios, as well as anyone who can appreciate subtle tunes that expand with each listen. Sample “Limitless” and check out video of earlier iterations of album tracks below: