By Chris Clark
Looking back, attempting to figure out where I was at age 20 is something like wading through a colorful haze. There was college, traveling, and shows. What was lacking was a care in the world. Somewhere in the distant future was this notion called the "Real World," but that wasn't tomorrow, so what did I care? A few years later, I realized this thing was real after all, and suddenly, everything changed.
Lucky enough, the "Real World" didn't turn out to be that bad. Some have it great, some not so great. For The Pnuma Trio, life is really great and will never be the same. Just over a year ago, these three fresh players (Alex Botwin - bass, Ben Hazlegrove - keyboards, and Lane Shaw - drums/percussion) came together through a chance musical meeting, and in a year's time, they've become one of the most talked about young bands in the country.
The Pnuma Trio
The Pnuma Trio began as three teenage, ahead-of-their-time musicians who met in Virginia through a mutual friend. While there, the three connected so deeply that they would soon drop what they were doing and move in together to start Pnuma. What started the day before Christmas of 2004 has now developed into three astonishingly talented players with a seasoned sound. Now trekking the country on an ambitious, 30-plus date tour that finds the band hitting everywhere from California to Langerado, The Pnuma Trio is poised to blow some minds from coast to coast.
"I think we definitely try to make every show like a big dance club," says the Pnuma Trio's high-flying drummer, Lane Shaw. "It's definitely a party."
But the Pnuma Trio is much more than just a party. The band's foundation is situated deeply within jazz sensibilities. All three are pure musicians, from Botwin's Suzuki trained violin playing to Hazlegrove's classical training at the Berklee School of Music, they are all steeped in several instruments and various styles of performing. Combined, the three sculpt a sound of post-modern electronica colored with thick, chunky bass lines, a barrage of high-hats, and synthed-out splashes of melody. Filled with escalating peaks and breath-catching valleys, The Pnuma Trio make music that you feel, not just hear.
"This music is a mixture of each of our musical backgrounds. It's something fresh. It's emotional. It's something new," says Botwin.
"Our sound has matured a lot since the last tour," explains Hazlegrove. "We've stayed true to the electronica aspect of the music, as well as to the jazz element. It's good that we're at a young age so we can just develop into what Pnuma has the potential to be."
And potential they have.
After hitting several strategic spots in the country hard this past year, primarily Colorado and their home bases of Memphis and Nashville, the trio received influential support from one of the jam-tronic scene's brightest stars - The Disco Biscuits' head-bobbing bassist, Marc Brownstein. Conspirator, Brownstein's side project with fellow Bisco mate Aron Magner and DJ Omen, invited The Pnuma Trio to open a handful of shows in the Northeast, even sharing the stage for an impressive member-swap jam that left an entire room wondering what just happened. The band also garnered additional encouragement from their introductory and frankly soul-awakening performance at last summer's Wakarusa Music Festival.