Im not going to lie: About half the reason I wanted to hear this was because of its fantastical name.
Ive been getting into Jacob Fred Jazz Odysseys post-everything jazz mash-ups recently, and Garage A Trois is one step further down the rung toward true jazz. Garage A Trois is described as a post rock/freak jazz supergroup, and thats something I can get into!
With saxophone, vibraphone, keys and drums, it looks like a relatively normal jazz quartet, but its super-not. The sax and the keys turn in nearly as dissonant turns as an electric guitar in places, and the post-rock tag is no joke. They can really pound it out when they want to (Resentment Incubator, Assault on Precinct 13). Kansas calls up mild Colin Stetson comparisons, and Stetsons latest is still my frontrunner for album of the year.
Weirdness abounds as well, as in the camp-horror of Swellage and space-shots Shooting Breaks and Thumb. Baby Mama Drama, on the other hand, is both a contender for best song title of the year and a straightforward jazz composition.
Garage A Trois is exactly what they were touted to be: a really jazzy post-rock outfit. I enjoyed the latter more than the former, but the former isnt bad at all. Always Be Happy is an intriguing release with some great tunes from several very talented musicians. If you like JFJO, progressive jazz or pushing your boundaries, I dare you to give this one a try. Stephen Carradini