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Nick Millevoi's Desertion Trio takes the stage this Saturday, 2/4 at the Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center (BMCM+AC). With its unique combination of Americana melodies, experimental and improvisational free jazz, and the innovations of contemporary musical expressions, Desertion Trio creates sound to get lost in.
Members Nick Millevoi (guitar), Johnny DeBlase (bass), and Kevin Shea (drums) are Desertion Trio. Millevoi's impressive resume includes playing John Zorn with the Hollenberg-Millevoi Quartet, as well as playing guitar with Chris Forsyth and the Solar Motel Band. He co-led the noise jazz trio Many Arms, which released two albums on Zorn's Tzadik label.
Desertion Trio released an album, Desertion, on the Shhpuma imprint in 2015 (part of the Clean Feed label), which goes "beyond, below and above the jazz realm." The album features bassist Johnny DeBlase, keyboardist Jamie Saft, and drummer Ches Smith. Desertion is your soundtrack to a moonlit drive across the Southwest: a little bit Neil Young (the album has been compared to Crazy Horse), a little bit acid jazz, and a little bit of surreal allegory—think Alejandro Jodorowsky's El Topo).
The music, Millevoi notes in an interview with Toronto's Psiphon Sessions, is inspired by cinema, particularly noir, and urban decay, as well as by the landscape of the desert. It's no accident that the group's—and the album's—name includes the word "desertion." The music asks us to peer into spaces that seem empty, like deserts and abandoned buildings, and recognize that they are filled with activity, even if it's the process of decay.
Millevoi lives in Philadelphia, and takes inspiration from industrial cityscapes like Philly and Detroit. The music itself moves through styles and tones as if passing through a city, over buildings both new and dilapidated. Harmonious, lilting notes and gentle drumrolls morph into harsher guitar and fiercely thudding percussion and back again as we survey the sonic world Desertion Trio builds.
The evening opens with music from local experimental jazz ensemble Man Feelings (Andy Burns on guitar, Joe Esposito on drums, and Connor Laws on bass). Tickets are $5 for BMCM+AC members and $10 for non-members. Things kick off at 8 pm.
Listen to Desertion and purchase the album on Bandcamp. Check out Desertion Trio on Psiphon Sessions here: