The Jazz/Rock group Neslort has been playing together since 1991 and has two recordings to date. Their latest recording, MYSTICAL SCAM, is a showcase of creativity, energy, excitement, humor, and sarcasm. If you are in the mood for lively, contemporary music then this recording should fit the bill.
The group’s leader, Rick Trolsen, composed all the charts for this recording. Rick’s soulful and fiery trombone solos and interjections dance through the intricate compositions with ease, and the other group members are equally matched with his sincere and impassioned playing. From the expressive saxophone solos of Kyle Cripps, Tim Robertson’s burning guitar riffs, Larry Sieberth’s funky organ solos, Matt Perrine’s groovin’ bass lines or Boyanna Trayanova’s rock-solid drumming, each musician’s enthusiasm and dedication to the collective is apparent and this group really rocks. Rick also sings on a few of the selections. Lyrics are provided in the liner notes.
Like the lyrics to his compositions, Trolsen has a meaningful story to tell and the group tells it very convincingly. With a fusion of rock, funk, jazz and reggae in a highly creative and entertaining fashion, Neslort will leave you feeling better than you felt before you gave them a listen. What else would you expect from a New Orleans-based band?
—Clarence Hines, University of North Florida
Trolsen and his ensemble deliver a fusion gumbo of Jazz, Noise and funk that offer a simmering spicy stew.
…part heavy-metal, part psychedelic jazz and part theatre of the absurd.
—Scott Aiges, New Orleans Times Picayune
…a heady jazz-funk-whatever-you-make-of-it ensemble that recalls the mustachioed Mr. Zappa’s humorous operatic art-rock phase of the late 70’s; Funk and jazz with a liberal dose of pleasantly sarcastic humor, followed by stretched out jams featuring plenty of all out blowing…impressive and innovative music, without a whiff of pretense…Clearly a band with no category, no time zone, and no identifiable country of origin on it’s passport.
—James Lien, CMJ Magazine
…an intelligent, if irreverent, blend of rock and jazz.
—Bill Milkowski, Pulse Magazine
…bizarre excursions designed to cheat expectation and keep the mind in an open state of inquiry.
—Jonathan Taback, Offbeat Magazine
…fusion without formulas, encompasses acid rock and Big Bands, Latin, boogaloo, and modal jazz rollicks and struts without stinting the polyrhythmic and metric complexities.
—David Dupont, Cadence Magazine
…a propensity for wacky humor, and a musical style that defies categorization.
—Keth Spera, New Orleans Times Picayune
This just in from the January 2010 Issue of Offbeat,
a Review of Neslort’s Mystical Scam Album:
“Neslort’s music is strikingly beautiful and well-played, shaped by Trolsen’s angular, chromatically dense arrangements and a level of performance from the band members that takes everything to another level. The rhythm section of Matt Perrine on electric bass, Larry Sieberth on keys and Boyanna Trayanova on drums is supple and precise as it drives the unorthodox time signatures and layered pulses that place Trolsen, saxophonist Kyle Cripps and guitarist Tim Robertson in such esoteric contexts. Trolsen’s soloing in the midst of these gems of creative whimsy recalls Zappa stalwart Bruce Fowler’s jaunty fights of fancy. His singing is also surprisingly good in a Greg Lake/Jack Bruce kind of way.”
Most reviews and articles about the leader of Neslort (spell it backward) begin, “Eccentric New Orleans trombonist Rick Trolsen…” The reasons for that are apparent in this CD. Equally evident is Trolsen’s and the sextet’s musicianship, which merges street funk, bebop, electronica, rhythm and blues, New Orleans parade pzazz and—as in all good gumbos—a mystery ingredient or two. Tim Robertson’s pliant guitar licks, Kyle Cripps’ saxophones, Matt Perrine’s bass and tuba, Larry Sieberth’s keyboards and the popping vigor of Boyanna Trayanova’s drumming complement Trolsen’s blowsy trombone and his vocals, reminiscent of David Clayton-Thomas.
“Neslort has delivered a unique album that does not really sound like anything else I have heard recently and that is precisely what makes Mystical Scam such a satisfying listen”
“Neslort are a new Orleans band that are difficult to categorize considering they play a gamut of styles including funk, jazz, fusion, psyche and rock. The leader of the band is Rick Trolsen on trombone and vocals – you may have noticed Neslort is his last name spelled backwards. Other members of the band are Kyle Cripps (tenor, soprano saxophones), Tim Robertson (electric guitar), Larry Sieberth (keyboards), Matt Perrine (electric bass, tuba) and Boyanna Trayanova (drums).
“The band formed in 1991 only to break up in 1998. Their new comeback album Mystical Scam is an excellent listen. Their website proclaims “Primordial Fusion since 1991″ and who am I to argue with that. Although the music is melodic, this is not an easy listen as there is a depth and complexity here that may take a few listens to fully appreciate.
“Trolsen’s trombone is all over this album which makes for an interesting sound as this is not something you hear very much in rock music. Three of the tracks contain vocals and I quite like Trolsen’s deep, soulful voice. The rest of the musicians are no slouches either and all do a fine job whether playing as a tight unit or adding snippets of improvisational jamming.”
See Where Y’at Online for this Review
Neslort Music BMI
Neslort brings a robust feeling of excitement and renewal to contemporary jazz releasing soulful joy on their latest, Mystical Scam. “March of the Native Alien” brings some funky rhythmic beats to the table which sounds more like something you’d find going down at the Maple Leaf or Blue Nile in the wee morning hours, while the title track, “Mystical Scam” brings you into a rockin’ psychedelic trip emblazoned with stellar organ vibes. From “I Found You,” to “The Yoga Rope Rag” and “After the Extinction,” this CD is a wild musical journey that delivers all the way. –J.J
New Orleans-Tuesday, September 8, 2009
It seems like the hottest night of the year, this Tuesday in September on Frenchman St. The street seems bare, The Snug Harbor is closed to renovations, and the Spotted Cat has closed to a management failure. But upstairs from the Blue Nile, life abounds. As part of the “Open Ears” series, organized by local trombonist, Jeff Albert, the Jazz-Rock-Avante Garde-“come what may” ensemble of “Neslort,” is tearing it up. At first, it seems as if they would be playing to only a few people, but by the end of the 3rd song, the place was packed, not with people just meandering and getting drunk, but with people attentively listening and getting into it. It developed into somewhat of a “Welcome Home” party.
Long disbanded since 1998, the group has come together again under the leadership of its creator, Rick Trolsen. A former member of “Bonerama” and “The New Orleans Nightcrawlers,” the trombonist originally formed this group as a vehicle for his, witty, innovative, and driving compositions. Their sound has been likened to a cross between Frank Zappa and the Jazz Crusaders. Personally, I think they defy comparison.
With Tenor Saxophonist, Brent Rose by his side, yes, it’s somewhat reminiscent of the Jazz Crusaders, but the material they are playing shows influences of Bach, Don Ellis, Chick Corea, and Frank Zappa, along with the undeniable grooves of what one would expect of a New Orleans band. Throw in a bit of circus music and some spontaneous improvisation, and there it is, a new kind of Gumbo called “Neslort.”
Laying down odd meter grooves, the rhythm section makes the music sound as funky and fluid as any funk band might. Keyboardist, Brian Coogan, at one moment is playing a lush, rubato solo, and as soon as the groove kicks, he’s laying down bebop licks like the masters. Bassist, Matt Perrine, in his ever-original style, holds down the fortress with his fretless singing throughout. Guitarist, Tim Robertson, donning a bicycle helmet, sounds like Steve Vai on Red Bull. Drummer, Boyanna Trayanova, of Bulgarian descent, fittingly rocks the band with hell bound solos, and “balls to the wall” grooves.
I, for one, can’t wait to hear them again. Keep your eye out for this band. It will get your blood moving, and keep your head spinning.
Zircoff Mata-Freelance Writer