Contemporary Jazz

Outre Through The In Door

16 NOV 10 JONATHAN WIDRAN

In the same way that contemporary jazz supergroup Fourplay, a recent Concord family addition, formed during the making of Bob James' solo album Grand Piano Canyon, the eclectic New Orleans based all-star ensemble Garage A Trois began as a trio (with guitarist Charlie Hunter and saxophonist Skerik) during the 1998 recording of drummer Stanton Moore's All Kooked Out! and culminated in the Outre Mer soundtrack.

During the same session, GAT recorded its debut Mysteryfunk live with no overdubs. Their colorful vibe featured lots of improvisation with electronically enhanced instruments. Six years and a follow-up album down the road, the group added vibraphonist/percussionist Mike Dillon. They were approached by French filmmaker Klaus Tontine -- a fan of the group's cosmopolitan approach to jazz, funk and other styles -- to create a soundtrack to his film Outre Mer, the story of a young man coming of age in rural France who is ostracized because he is only four feet tall.

The 2005 Telarc soundtrack, which weaves together elements of exotic funk, Latin and Caribbean music (among other stylistic excursions), proved popular, but oddly enough, the film itself was never released. By 2007, Hunter had left the band and Moore, Skerik and Dillon continued to perform with other musicians like John Medeski and pianist/organist Marco Benevento.

Benevento's influence on the group today is such that for a time the band was also billed occasionally as "Garage A Benevento." Fans of the Outre Mer soundtrack were rewarded for their patience between albums when GAT released Power Patriot, their first CD with the new lineup, late in 2009.