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TrioGram - s/t (Circle Theory)

4 April 2023

To follow up his debut album L.A. Source Codes, bassist and composer Will Lyle chose a different route than expected: he formed a band. Consisting of Lyle, pianist Bijan Taghavi, and drummer Kofi Shepsu, TrioGram is a fully collaborative outfit, with input from all members, rather than a bandleader-and-sidefolk project. The self-titled album opens with Lyle’s “Esau,” an energetic, almost danceable tune that practically bleeds optimism, and keeps that tone going with Taghavi’s equally spirited “Changes.” Both songs beautifully balance melody and rhythm, making it easy to hear the commonalities that lead Lyle, Taghavi and Shepsu to work together. That same vision moves through Lyle’s “Ezra” and Taghavi’s “Laylc’s Groove,” both tributes to key figures in the musicians’ development (in the pianist’s case, Lyle himself). The trio apply their talents to standards as well, including a shuffle through Victor Young’s “Street of Dreams,” a breezy swing through Irving Berlin’s “How Deep is the Ocean,” and, of all things, a groovy jaunt through singer Dido’s “Thank You.” Throughout the threesome demonstrates tight chemistry, masterful craft, and a strong sense that everyone is having a blast, making TrioGram one of the most refreshing piano trio records in some time.