Garage A Trois
One of the great wonders of the Internet is that it can be a fantastic tool for separating fact from fiction. Fact: Outre Mer is the latest album from the progressive jazz-funk trio-plus-one Garage A Trois. Fiction: The film on which this soundtrack is based actually exists. Known for their wicked sense of humor, guitarist Charlie Hunter, drummer Stanton Moore, saxophonist Skerik, and ubiquitous mallet master and former KC percussionist Mike Dillon appear dedicated to playing out this ruse with a collective straight face. It’s an interesting concept — the tale of Etienne, a young French dwarf who spends his life seeking the personal peace of love and acceptance — but the liner-note plot outline provided by the film’s fictitious director is mostly irrelevant to the music.
Instead, the characters and settings described unite these 11 cuts into a coherent set. With the evocative fluidity of the album’s title track, the brooding intensity of “Etienne,” the mechanized drive of “The Machine,” and the loping gait of “Antoine,” the quartet squarely sets its sights on charting each groove as a means of character study. Anchored by the harmonic foundation of Hunter’s unique eight-string guitar-bass hybrid, Skerik, Moore and Dillon layer their contributions with rhythmic precision. As a soundtrack that creates its own film, Outre Mer is haunting.