Trey Anastasio: The Horseshoe Curve

By: Sarah Moore

Trey Anastasio fans waited with expectant ears for his latest release, The Horseshoe Curve (Rubber Jungle Records). Featuring Trey and his band The Dectet, the album opens with the most crisp, upbeat salsa funk one can muster. Curve is about Trey getting back to his funky, inspired self. Without going into intrusive tabloid fodder, this particular critic notes that a spark is back to his playing. This music comes from someone who knows healing, as if this record resets any missed or lapsed time from his true self.

His most grandiose since Seis de Mayo (his instrumental album from 2004), Curve finds Trey getting back to the vitals that made him such a standout in the first place. Think Trey pre-Shine. The percussion by Cyro Baptista takes us to Little Mermaid "Under the Sea" beginnings on "Sidewalks of San Francisco," where Trey just slightly lets us know he's there on guitar. In fact, Trey's presence is not really made the center of attention beyond his solos. This is not to say that Trey is in the background, because he does step up and shove the current to epic places. The horn section (Dave Grippo, Jen Hartswick, Peter Apfelbaum, Russell Remington and Andy Moroz) enters the groove, punctuating each line with precision.

The second track, "Olivia," oozes influences, particularly from Steely Dan's "Josie." Remington plays flute on several tracks, causing some to hover between rocking funk and upbeat elevator jazz. "Olivia" fizzles into "Burlap Sack and Pumps," with a low-end solo from Tony Markellis that becomes an assault on the funk receptors. Saxophone and keys from Ray Paczkowski join the super greasy funk attack, which retains an island warmth welcome here in January. Anastasio mentions on his website that this track has similar musical phrasing to the vocal layers on such Phish songs as "Twist" and "Bouncing Around the Room."

Dissonant harmonies on "The 5th Round" characterize the melody of its refrain. A speedy mixture of Phish-like jams recorded at a live performance make this track a real treat. At the pinnacle of the song, a train whizzes by, all whistles and thunder and clanging. A magnetic performance, this conjures images of stars colliding. Trey is obviously doing something right.

The electric guitar noodling throughout goes somewhere and doesn't fizzle out. There also aren't many extraneous sections or dead end musical tangents, helping to keep this short album (40 minutes) accessible. Trey has shown that he can still be experimental and cutting edge while retaining his signature sound.

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[Published on: 1/9/08]

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dedhed6111 Wed 1/9/2008 07:31PM
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definitely haven't been a trey fan the past 7, 8 years or so. but i really hope that they are right about the spark being back in his music and his attitude. The sky always has been the limit for trey, and now maybe he's finally back on his way up. cheers, mate, and good luck.

jalew Wed 1/9/2008 07:57PM
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I miss you, Trey.

CeilingFan247 Wed 1/9/2008 08:18PM
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Didn't this album come out like 4-6 months ago?

Weird it gets reveiwed now...

But, I'm gonna agree with the review. It's been awhile since Trey has come out with anything good, but this album brings back his cred. Good shit.

chuckus starstarstarstarstar Wed 1/9/2008 08:34PM
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I'm excited for Trey, but I'm even more excited about this article. It was a great read! Good job, Sarah! I've never commented on Jambase before, but your article motivated me to do so. For what its worth, I do think Trey is a true musician. And a think YOU are a true writer.

I love you Jambase.

DJ Saturday Baxter Wed 1/9/2008 09:33PM
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DJ Saturday Baxter

i am really surprised this album wasnt reviewed until now. I emailed jambase like 6 months ago and asked them about the review of this album... they said it was comming.... way too late...

rjd999 Thu 1/10/2008 12:59AM
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wild, i just heard a song from this on the sirius, funny the review is getting posted tonight, just as i hear the song... whatever though, i actually really enjoy this album. ive really gotten into a fair amount of afrobeat as of late, and its definitely cool to hear trey's take on it in a lot of these songs. the guy really is a great musician, and i think it speaks volumes about his musicianship to be able to take a step back and kind of be a band leader without completely dominating the music with solos... cant wait for him to get back on the road, and im still keeping my fingers crossed

Souljive starstarstarstarstar Thu 1/10/2008 03:12AM
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-this album is ill. Sh*t like this will stand out in 20 years... Nobody is bringin' it like these guys-JAMOMATIC.

‹^› ‹(•¿•)› ‹^› {¬¿¬} starstarstarstarstar Thu 1/10/2008 05:37AM
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ndant703 Thu 1/10/2008 06:04AM
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Hey just be glad the reviewed it and chill out. It's a free site that volunteers work on. Keep it up Jambase! As far as Trey and the album- ehhh he/it is okay.

DelrayChris Thu 1/10/2008 06:15AM
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Been a phish fan since college in '91, followed them in their heyday, saw all the major shows... Trey was truly burnt out, addled by the obvious use of droogs and just spent on "the scene" even by 1999's Big Cypress...which was the peak of the scene. To have Trey regain his former passion for playing would be amazing. We are rooting for you Big Red!!

danpfunk Thu 1/10/2008 09:43AM
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Love this album, and have heard the live EP that some people got called Lucius Beebe. But the tunes and lineup are all circa 2002-04. In fact I believe several of the tracks were recorded back then.

That said, I think this review is a little inaccurate when it states that the spark is back and he is making up for lost time.

Love the man and the music, but in the immortal words of Mr. Wolf, "Let's not start sucking each other's dicks just yet." To me this album is a reminder of what once was, and hopefully what will be soon. But I don't think it says anything about the current state of Trey or his music.

D-Line Thu 1/10/2008 10:03AM
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broonum star Thu 1/10/2008 10:32AM
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tonebeach Thu 1/10/2008 10:48AM
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STOP BEING A HATER. trey has all the dope beats. if he was a DJ he would be funkmaster flex. this is cutting edge insturmental and would recomend this to any phish/trey hater. keep hating its pathetic.

broonum Thu 1/10/2008 11:29AM
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Look, the music is good. I'm not saying otherwise. I'm only saying that the record is not a return to form, because its old. That's all.

Also, the review was well written. No knock on the author. Just a little misinformed.

kyjed48 starstarstarstar Thu 1/10/2008 02:30PM
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I'm with you, tonebeach. Hate, hate, hate, hate, hate! The negative vibes on here cease to amaze me.

Waterinthesky Thu 1/10/2008 03:01PM
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Album is very well put together. No it isn't Phish, or anything even similar, but it definitely contains some incredible, groovy ass, jams. Give the guy some credit where it's due...Phish Summer Tour 2008

yemmw Fri 1/11/2008 02:02PM
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Trey was genuinely SHREDDING in Memphis during his fall tour 06 show there (11.02.06). His soloing was the best I'd heard after 02. He had the post hiatus tone, but he was delivering some pre-hiatus shred. NO joke. He didn't sound that good this past October in Glens Falls, but no one should expect him to be in top flight after such a break from playing in public. Trey has recovered from his sucking, and we can expect more great things from him soon.

yemmw Fri 1/11/2008 02:08PM
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I should have said: "His soloing was the best it's been since the hiatus began in 10/00."

breadloaf Sat 1/12/2008 08:54AM
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Nice writing, Sarah. Keep them coming, late or otherwise.

willo86 Mon 2/11/2008 02:47PM
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Danpfunk. How do you know Lucius Beebe?