Solidtone Recordings is pleased to announce the October 16th release of Try the Veal
by TRi/O, a collaborative groove-based contemporary jazz & funk outing from three New York musicians: Steve Shapiro
on vibraphone and mallet keyboards, virtuoso 5-string bassist Dave Anderson and drummer Tyger MacNeal
. A unique concept and original repertoire sets the group apart in the genres of jazz, percussion, and electronic music—especially through experimentation with customized live-loops and the electronic mallet controller, allowing the band to explore progressive new territory. Try The Veal was recorded in late 2019 and early 2020. With future sessions cut short by the pandemic, the resulting album yielded a number of first-takes, full of spontaneous energy.
Dynamic musical interaction and improvisation is at the heart of everything on Try The Veal. From the first notes of the opening track “Thanks But No Thanks,” it becomes obvious that this is no ordinary vibraphone trio. Shapiro’s unmistakable sound-design with the Wernick Xylosynth mallet controller sets the atmosphere, along with a bouncy rhythmic feel. Anderson and MacNeal clearly provide the perfect veteran rhythm section who know how to dial-in a groove. The tune’s unusual framework unfolds into a searing bass solo before working into new harmonic territory for the main melodic theme.
Another Shapiro original, “Hypotenuse,” finds Steve and Dave trading opening phrases before a funky poly-rhythmic vibe riff launches into more imaginative, free-wheeling improvisations. The classic tune “Vienna” from Billy Joel’s towering 1977 album The Stranger
brings the group back to more traditional acoustic territory, with Steve delivering a unique and thoughtful arrangement for the vibes. This is a cover song that has never before been heard in this context, with a sweet and soulful bass solo by Dave Anderson, showing his masterful command of the upper register of his instrument.
With the tune “Ennui,” another original, the group utilizes midi sequences and loops to venture into a tribal jam that unfolds into an extended electric mallet solo on the Xylosynth. This track is a re-recording of this composition, which appeared on Steve’s Shapiro’s 2001 solo release Xylophobia
(featuring modern jazz greats Marc Johnson
, Danny Gottlieb
, Kevin Hays
and others). Finally, two other contrasting cover tunes from this release deserve some attention: Sting’s “When the World is Running Down,” and Lalo Schifrin
’s 1960’s groovy “The Cat.” Both utilize custom live-looping developed through Shapiro’s extensive synthesizer programming experience, giving each version a specific groove and attitude that ex-Average White Band drummer MacNeal nails with solid funk precision. Again, this is unusual direction for a vibraphone group, but these unexpected settings show TRi/O’s true versatility and spirit for re-invention. It’s an open door for adventurous jazz listeners into song interpretations not usually explored on mallet instruments.
Throughout, the group draws inspiration from many great trios of the past—from artists like Bill Evans
, Jimi Hendrix
, Medeski Martin & Wood
, to Jazz Police
. Try The Veal documents the power of groove, communication, and interaction from three musicians having a blast creating their own joyful musical story.
About The Artists Steve Shapiro
brings decades of experience as a NYC studio vibraphonist, composer, and synth programmer. He has recorded or performed with some of the biggest stars in jazz and pop, including Steely Dan, Ornette Coleman, Phil Collins, Spyro Gyra, Whitney Houston, They Might Be Giants, and many others. Shapiro is also an accomplished producer and arranger whose work has appeared in hundreds of projects for television, film, and Disney. Steve has been a pioneer using audio and midi technology with the vibraphone since the 1980s, and has developed a unique voice inspired by contemporary electric keyboards. TRi/O provides the perfect setting for Steve to find new and unusual possibilities for the electronic mallet controller.Dave Anderson
’s work spans a range of world class artists in jazz, R&B, pop, folk rock, fusion, world music, and more. His recent work includes associations with Bill Evans, Nelson Rangell, Jeff Kashiwa, Steve Cole, Bob Baldwin, Marion Meadows, Marc Antoine, Chieli Minucci & Special EFX, Smokey Robinson, and others. Past credits include Art Garfunkel, Blood Sweat & Tears, Michael McDonald, Donna Summer, James Ingram, and numerous others.Tyger MacNeal
spent three years touring and recording with The Average White Band before joining with seven-time Grammy award winning guitar legend Jose Feliciano for over two decades. He has also performed with such notables as The Four Tops, Rosemary Clooney, The Fifth Dimension, Billy Eckstein, The Shirelles, and Little Anthony, to name a few, and has many credits on Broadway.