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Desertion Trio - Numbers Maker (Cuneiform)

19 May 2021

Though Numbers Maker is the third album from Northeast power threesome Desertion Trio, in a way it’s a coming out party. The group – led by Chris Forsyth and John Zorn sideman Nick Millevoi – has always been joined by pals like keyboardist Jamie Saft on previous platters. For this record, the band goes it alone, in front of a live audience in New Haven, CT’s legendary Firehouse 12 studio.

Though members associate with various modern jazz luminaries, the group is more interested in musical cross-pollination within collective improvisation than in picking a style and sticking to it. Elements of jazz fusion, groovy soundtrack music, and heavy psych rock swirl through pieces like “Albion” and “Powers,” with Johnny DeBlase’s thrusting bass nearly on par with Millevoi’s wide-range six-string slashing. “Buist” kicks off with some serious boogie bass before Millevoi puts his wah-wah into overdrive, while the smoky “Taboo” gets moody, like the score to a retrofit thriller right before the action begins. The record ends with the title track, an extended modal improvisation that is simultaneously the most psychedelic and the most jazzy track on the album.

Infused equally with improvisational acumen and rock & roll power, Numbers Maker reintroduces Desertion Trio in a shower of sparks.