This trio first worked publicly in February of 2007 (Cadence Jazz Records 1214) and, in January 2008, were first recorded for CIMP (#275). For the background and circumstances of the group, I’d encourage you to check out those two prior releases or, short of that, please go to the CIMP website and read the notes for #275. That session was, for me, a remarkable music experience. Before it was over I invited the group back, suggesting an expanded session to further explore and expose a still unexposed range of music and capture more of the depth of their playing. So here I am, after raving on for half a year about this group, prepared to produce them again—and all this before their first recording has yet to be released. Foolish and risky from a commercial point of view but, from an artistic point of view, an imperative, and hardly a risk. I hope you share my enthusiasm and endorse my impulsiveness. The group assembled in The Spirit Room in mid afternoon. With welcoming and joyous spirit, they started the sound checks, which, in fit and finish, picked up from where the session of a half year before left off. Technical brilliance in art is not a priority for me. By itself technique may be impressive but it can be emotionally sterile. Clearly these three can deliver on technical brilliance but they also excel at emotive and compositional depth. And it was the depth and breadth of their talents that I wanted to further explore. Which is why, immediately after the January recording, I proposed that we meet again over a more extended time in order to extemporize on both originals and covers to, in effect, let this group expound in a wide range of colors, familiar and unfamiliar. The first night’s session was devoted to covers, opening with the Donizetti, a wonderful reading arranged by Tomas. Where one person’s familiar reference is another’s tedium, for this listener: the more familiar the work the greater the chance of tedium. When dealing with the familiar, the imperative for any artist is (or should be) to give it a fresh presentation, a tribute to the subject with comment. This group uses a variety of techniques on these covers. For instance, they reverse the structure by improvising freely into the theme on Let’s Cool One (Mike’s arrangement) whereas, on Nature Boy, Tomas, who has an obvious love for the sentiment, plays the theme with an emotional sweep before almost violently—but with emotive affection—attacking that very sentiment. We reviewed various takes the next morning at breakfast, after having completed the bulk of the non-original material, and, not surprising to me, satisfaction reigned. Musically the day began with a nod to the folk Blues in a duo interpretation of Robert Johnson’s Come On In My Kitchen. At this point Tomas decided to leave the rest of the cover material for later, saying he thought it lent itself to night music. And so we began to work on the group’s originals and, in so doing, looked at not only their interpretive strengths but compositional strengths as well. One of the things I find remarkable about this trio is not so much that it can draw on and extemporize such a broad range of styles—even genres—but that it can make substantive statements on these references. Compare I Know and Walking Through Those Shadows, two very different musical colors but both full and satisfying in their creative use of structure and statements. I’m not a fan of the supermarket approach to music even though I enjoy a wide variety of music, including European Baroque to American Roots to European Avant Garde. I am often asked “What kind of music do you like?” by performers wishing to send me demos, followed by assurances that they can do it all. And perhaps they can. But execution is often insubstantial, statements hackneyed, and, in being everything, they are almost always nothing. The session ended with Tomas’ solo ode to a beloved cat, Song for Musetta. These three really can do it (almost) all: cover, uncover, discover, recover. Both individually, and now as a group, they have a track record and a body of work that documents this. In coming together as Cargo Cult they have found a synthesis that is even greater than their considerable parts. Supergroup? Whatever. Supermusic? Without a doubt. -Robert D. Rusch - July 1, 2008 Music mentioned in these notes but not found on this recording can be found on CIMP 385.