Homegrown Music Network ~ 3.27.04

The OM Trio
Sat. evening March the 25th @ The Cats Cradle, Chapel Hill,  N.C.

          The New Jersey based jazz-fusion outfit, known as the OM Trio, recently descended upon the local Cats Cradle in Chapel Hill on Sat. evening March the 25th at 9:00pm. Slated as the opening act before headliners and close associates Umphrey's McGee, the OM Trio provided a seamless "power-hour" of old and new material which came off as one of the best sets of music I have witnessed in recent memory. 

          The evening began at the Cradle with a room half-filled with local Chapel Hill and Carrboro music-ites.  OM Trio forged commensurately transcending and heavy handed sonic landscapes over the next hour as the audience grew in numbers in steady assemblage for the late night act.  The percussive back drop more times than not involved driving break-beats as the head of each tune cycled into its improvisational mode.  Multiple fans and new comers to OM Trio danced and moved their feet in time to the deep laden bass and key notes locked in with drummer Ilya Stemkovsky's snare.

           The intensity rose with a steady upward momentum which reached a peak as the OM Trio was joined on stage by guitarists Jake Cinninger and Brendan Bayliss from headliners Umphrey's Mcgee.  Hard-hitting jazz was now fused with old school metal as the unit tore into a funky rendition of The OM Trios original composition Bulbous*> which segued into their another entitled "Mesh"> eventually winding its way back into Bulbous*. As my friends and I had predicted, The OM Trio, along with Jake and Brendan were all on point. Completely dialed into their audience with great stage presence and deep beats, OM's hypnotically energetic sounds fused well with Umphreys classic rock comping and shredding guitar chops. The interpretation of these pieces saw multiple outlandish and fast note exchanges between Brian Felix on his keys and the members of Umphrey's.

           Overall the performance stylistically ranged from jazz, to trance, to metal, and at times thanks to Umphrey's saw some brilliant guitar interplay between keys and guitar. Reflecting the Catís Cradle witnessed Sat. evening the perfect Umphrey's opening show, as The OM Trio melted thru barriers, pre-conceptions, and awakened new fans that a night of incredible music had begun. By sets end they had devoured the traditional paradigm of what a keys, bass, and drum trio can create musically.  With a dynamic line-up consisting of Brian Felix (Keys), Pete Novembre (Bass), and Ilya Stemkovsky (Drums), it was positively-proven that no one is safe once OM Trio commences its forward roll. 

          The Om Trio organization is currently touring in support of their fifth studio album entitled GLOBALPOSITIONINGRECORD (GPR) while like-wise hashing out tunes for their sixth coming release.  Having recently moved back to NJ on the east coast from San Fran, and working with considerably well organized and innovative management from Mr. Lee Seelig, OM Trio is definitely pointing itself in all the right directions. Quickly making new fans and taking their audiences to new levels, OM Trio has proven they are a true power-trio, not to be missed by anyone who enjoys ground-breaking improvisation and lives within 100 miles of where the band next performs.

For more information on the band and their music visit:  http://www.omtrio.com

Reviewed by: Drew Willardson