Tribecastan – Strange Cousin

Tribecastan – Strange Cousin

Tribecastan – Strange Cousin

There’s a singular kind of feeling one gets when they’re able to let inhibitions go and let loose. Whether it’s in the style of familiarizing yourself with old friends, dressing for an event, or in this case, getting together with musicians who share similar bonds and rejoicing in the music you’re creating.

There’s a picture of the duo, John Kruth and Jeff Greene, that leads Tribecastan on the back of Strange Cousin and they’re depicted in the same way their music comes off: joyous, distinct and energized. Both men look up towards the sky as they cradle their respective instruments, laughing about who knows what. Along with a group of musicians, they’ve successfully conveyed this relaxed fun of worldly touches into a solid amount of fashionable music.

The upright bass that starts things off on “Princess Rahsaanica” deceives with its 60s R&B style before Kruth’s wooden flute sings with a fluid motion, just before Steve Turre is featured on a timely trombone solo. And even with a wide range of styles, the album’s overall theme is a Middle-eastern one as noticed on not only the album’s sound but the song titles. “Dancing Girls (of Tribecastan)” conjure images of dancing gypsies during dusk and the spellbinding twists they perform. And although only four musicians are featured on this song—everything from drums, cymbals, to a riq—they all give way to a grander scale of delightedness.

There’s nothing extraordinarily amazing on Strange Cousin but that’s just the case, it seems like this was all about getting a few friends together and making something quirky, unique and fresh. For every whistling flute there’s an accompanying koncovka such as the case with the complacent feel of “Yusef’s Motif.” Playing off each other’s move, Green and Kruth trade jabs as if they were performing for tips on a Sunday afternoon at your favorite park. Peppered with liveliness and a sense of ease, they thrive on their gelling musings.

The alto sax solo, by Matt Darriau and the pocket trumpet part, by Dave Dreiwitz on “Tribecastan Traffic Jam” are vibrantly performed. With each musician taking turns under the spotlight, they borrow from each other: both employing linear lines and conveniently placed vibrato. And on the only other piece that features only Kruth and Greene, “Otha’s Blues” is a jamming, mandolin-filled romp of easygoing instrumental flurries.  

Interestingly enough and in reality, unfortunately, Strange Cousin is a collection of mixed ideas. Righteously so, Tribecastan is here to show us just how much fun a good time can be. And even when the moments drag and the ideas run dry, this set of talented musicians are able to sort things out in efficient manner. All that really matters is the musician’s elation and for Kruth and Greene, all looks up.

Evergreene Music