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Jazz review: Guitarist Timothy Young at Little Temple

December 28, 2011 |  1:07 pm

Timothy Young copy
He wasn't on tour. His band hadn't met in months. His new record didn't even have a label yet.

But guitarist Timothy Young and his far-flung trio mates found their calendars intersecting in Los Angeles, so they knocked together a "pre-release party" Tuesday at East Hollywood's Little Temple. An inspiration, it turned out.

Tumbleweed Young forsook Seattle for Tinseltown five years ago in search of session gold. Besides captaining his own projects, he's made lasting runs with eclectic keyboardist Wayne Horvitz, veteran jazz violinist Michael White and omnivorous Brit rocker David Sylvian, and has worked with a range of artists from Beck to Fiona Apple.

Young's upcoming "Gravitational Lensing," though, sounds like a hellbent blast from his youth. (He's 41.) Dinosaur riffs, space trips and heavy stoner blues dominate, lightened with intervals of Renaissance pluck, horse-drawn folk and punk jazz, and shaded with an artful palette of fuzzy to shivery guitar tones.

Satisfied with the album's elastic pacing, Young simply played the whole thing in order. Tall, stubbled bassist/co-writer Kaveh Rastegar and rumble-rolling drummer Nate Wood (both of the post-jazz group Kneebody, Grammy-nominated two years ago) fell right into the joyful hugeness of instrumentals such as "Intergalactic Plasma" and "Magnetosphere."

The swoop-coiffed Young, meanwhile, beamed with unself-conscious rock glory as he jerked his Telecaster through belching lava figures and smoldering solos. The small bar seemed to expand and contract like a PCP hallucination, and the myriad points of light from the ceiling's mirror ball rotated light years away from the earthbound memory of disco. The substantial crowd gaped and hooted.

The Youngs -- Timothy Young's trio with his singer-drummer wife, Eryn, and bassist John Schuller -- opened with a set showcasing the couple's imaginative songcraft. Eryn Young's rich, clear voice delivered intimate optimism, and Timothy hoisted his sails for an extended gale of a guitar coda on the epic "Over the Wall."

To close, Wood abandoned his drums in favor of electric guitar and microphone to front the Nate Wood Band, a trio with bassist Jesske Hume and drummer Louis Cole. Wood's transparent vocals and the band's thumping groove made for an open invitation.

 A convivial pre-New Year's celebration -- all in the spirit of collectivity.


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Photo: Jazz guitarist Timothy Young, left, in concert with bassist Kaveh Rastegar. Credit: S. Husky Hoskulds