July 2007 Cadence Magazine
The CD by Samson Trinh is so diverse it almost feels like a demo reel with him showing all the different styles of music he can write. According to his liner notes, when he would compose music he never heard it being played to his satisfaction so he got together seemingly half the musicians in Richmond, Virginia, and recorded his work the way he wanted to hear it. This is mostly big band music but a lot of other ground is covered. “To You, Near You, With You” is an upbeat Jazz song that could have come out of some sophisticated film comedy. “Thank Goodness” is Western swing complete with a steel guitar. “I Tried to Talk To Her, But She Thought I Was Too Weird” is a slippery electric funk with electric pianos fuzzing out like Herbie Hancock in his Headhunters days. “Signs Are Full Of Jive,” “I Can’t Believe I’m Addicted To The O.C.”, and “Very Strange Night” are quirky big band tunes with the first sung by Adrian Duke in a voice that’s a cross between Lyle Lovett and Jack Sheldon, and “That’s Why” is a gorgeous torch song sung with forlorn beauty by Terri Murphy. There’s a strong element of fun in Trinh’s large group arranging. With lots of piping woodwinds, surprise chords, and whimsical musical quotes he brings Nelson Riddle, Henry Mancini, and Billy May to mind, names you rarely hear cited as influences today. This is solid music with a goofy charm exemplified by touches like a “Bei Meir Bist Du Schoen” quote showing up in “Very Strange Night’ as it romps to its brass-shouting climax. All together this is a surprising and fun CD.
- Jerome Wilson