No A-side/B-side necessary: Milwaukee’s music scene can absolutely be too insular at times. With the number of local bands who are prone to tour in pairs, and populate Groundhog Day-esque local show bills together, it’s always refreshing when unlikely collaborators embrace the unfamiliar, pool their disparate talents, and forge something better than the original. And while we’re still waiting on that Northless/Calamity Janes And The Fratney Street Band split EP, instrumental jazz quartet Three. Stacks. Eliot and rapper Vonny Del Fresco have thankfully joined forces for a living room session that gives us hope that more Milwaukee musicians might soon take a detour from familiar collaborative causeways and venture into new territory.
The two parties first worked together in March at Three. Stacks. Eliot’s monthly session at the Jazz Gallery. Vonny Del Fresco’s performance struck a chord with the hosts, and a bond was born. Filmed by Derek Rickert, the 12-minute session was recorded and performed in Three. Stacks. Eliot drummer Samuel Lewis’ south side living room over seven hours in June. Lewis says the low-key living room set was chosen as a result of “seeing how many clubs and personal opinions seem to have a belligerent view of hip-hop shows” despite their sessions never having an incident. “I felt it would add a bit of an ironic mood—based on public opinion—to have two rappers rapping in the comfort of a living room.”
The first song is a new take on Fresco’s “Thinking About You,” which includes exponentially more vibraphone and typewriter than the original version. The arrangement was written that day. The second selection, “Sycamore,” is a Three. Stacks. Eliot song that features a verse that Fresco also wrote during that day’s session. The next Three. Stacks. Eliot. Session is planned for early 2015.