After Phish finished at Shoreline in 2000, Trey’s motor kept running. Continuing to write new material, he soon needed an outlet to play it and booked a spontaneous solo tour for the Winter of 2001. For a backing band, he looked to his his trio from the Spring of 1999. Pulling his rhythm section of Tony Markelis and Russ Lawton back together for his second tour ever, this time Trey added a three-piece horn section as well. Dave Grippo (alto sax) of Giant Country Horns fame,) young Jen Hartswick (trumpet, tuba) and Andy Moroz (trumpet) formed the Burlington-based trio that spiced up Trey’s jams all tour long. Adding a genuine fusion dynamic to the band’s rhythm-focused grooves, this initial horn lineup meshed immediately with the Trey, Tony, and Ray, forming, in my opinion, the best-ever incarnation of The Trey Anastasio Band.
To his Spring 1999 staples of “Sand,” Jibboo,” and “First Tube,” Trey added new songs such as “Push On Til the Day,” “Burlap Sack and Pumps,” and “Drifting.” Trey ditched his acoustic set in favor of two electric throw-downs and the band hit the road in February for a slate of ten shows (adding one more on the spot in Atlanta after an unexpectedly high for the first.) Starting in the Northeast, the band wound their way south, finishing with a fierce four-pack in Asheville, NC, Columbia, SC, and two at The Fox in Atlanta. Spicing their sets with new covers, this version of Trey’s band featured musical conversations rather than Trey simply shredding over a thick groove. As opposed to the horns of modern-day TAB who have more composed lines, Grippo, Hartswick, and Moroz improvised right along with Trey through the fiercest and most explosive escapades, upping the onstage dynamic considerably while bringing an entirely new element to Trey’s jams.
So many musical passages stood out on this tour, but if one jam shined as the quintessential TAB 2001 excursion, it was “Sand > Quadraphonic Toppling” from Columbia, South Carolina. Delving deep into fusion psychedelia, the band threw down an extended series of textured dance grooves that were spiced considerably by horn improvisation. And then evoking memories of Big Cypress, Trey led the band through the abstract “Quadraphonic Toppling,” playing—and looping—the song’s minimalist melody himself.
Trey’s sextet existed for just a blip in time, playing only the winter’s eleven shows together. When Trey emerged with his band for the summer of 2001, he had added Ray Paczkowski on keyboards for the first time, as well as a fourth horn player, Russell Remington, on tenor sax and flute. The following summer, this lineup only grew, as Trey went on to explore Afro-Cuban grooves. But for a spontaneous stretch in the winter of 2001, Trey was discovering the power of his solo act, and his shows contained a palpable energy, bringing a buzz to the scene. Phish was done—for the moment—but Trey’s solo career was beginning to heat up.
Jam of the Day:
“A Song I Heard the Ocean Sing” 6.19.04 II
One of the top-shelf jams of the post-hiatus era.
DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:
4.12.1991 Barrymore Theatre, Madison, Wisconsin SBD
Mp3 Torrent (asap), Megaupload < Links
Keeping the old-school soundboard train rolling.
I: Llama, Uncle Pen, The Divided Sky, Guelah Papyrus, The Oh Kee Pa Ceremony > Suzy Greenberg, Stash, Rocky Top, Golgi Apparatus
II: The Landlady, Runaway Jim, You Enjoy Myself, Fluffhead, Cavern, Tela, Buried Alive, Reba, My Sweet One, Good Times Bad Times
E: Contact > Big Black Furry Creature from Mars, The Squirming Coil