The Mindful Bard – Garage á Trois

Books, Music, and Film to Wake Up Your Muse and Help You Change the World

CD: Garage á Trois, Power Patriot

Label: The Royal Potato Family

Release date: October 27, 2009


I’m a Genius, You’re a Genius?Why don’t We Just Cut Loose?

?Music is your own experience, your own thoughts, your wisdom. If you don’t live it, it won’t come out of your horn. They teach you there’s a boundary line to music. But, man, there’s no boundary line to art.?

Charlie Parker

I am a master. I am very great.

These are two mantras prescribed by Kenny Werner in Effortless Mastery, a book for musicians. They are part of a series of meditations enabling players to put the deductive parts of their brains on hold in order to allow music to flow through them, free of pesky obstacles like fear of making a mistake.

This method of practice (actually best called preparation) can completely alter?in a good way?how a musician performs. I know this from experience, and I wouldn’t have known it had it not been for a recent interview with Marco Benevento.

Benevento was also the first person to fill me in on circuit bending toys. And he’s a shining example of what a brilliant musician can do once he gets his brilliant mind out of the way. And he’s a member of Garage á Trois, with whom he’s in very good company.

These musicians? serious credentials may send up the red flag of pedantry but this music isn’t boring for a second and the excitement just keeps building. It may not be the best music to listen to while painting, sculpting, or writing, but It’s pretty darn inspiring to listen to just before engaging in any of those activities. It’s music to rev the torpid brain, and its evocations of past musical eras will lift you out of this world.

This album comprises original instrumental numbers composed and played by advanced jazz musicians who’ve thrown themselves into aural experimentation with alacrity. Listening to Power Patriot is kind of like watching a bunch of nuclear physicists whooping it up on a waterslide. Stuffy musical pedants they ain’t.

To give you an idea of what to expect, I was listening to Power Patriot while surfing for updates on the band and it took me a few minutes to realize that there was a different piece of music playing on the band’s website while I was listening to the CD. The two disparate musical pieces together sounded like so much of the rest of the album (which positively swims with countercurrents) that I hadn’t even noticed.

A few high points:

The mock-ominous bass building to what could be a sensational ?60s-style movie anthem in ?Germs?

The noir-funk-Hendrix stylings of ?Fat Redneck Gangster?

The way chimes are employed throughout the album and made to sound so?edgy
The Glassesque modal passages in ?Computer Crimes? (et al.)

All those lovely moments when a frenetic series of notes gives way to broad, slow vistas of serene, transcendent sound

Power Patriot manifests five of The Mindful Bard’s criteria for music well worth a listen: 1) it is authentic, original, and delightful; 2) it makes me want to be a better artist; 3) it gives me tools which help my art; 4) it provides respite from a cruel world, a respite enabling me to renew myself for a return to mindful artistic endeavour; and 5) it stimulates my mind.

The Bard could use some help scouting out new material. If you discover any books, compact disks, or movies which came out in the last twelve months and which you think fit the Bard’s criteria, please drop a line to If I agree with your recommendation, I’ll thank you online.