Despite their moniker, Chamber 3 sounds more like an intimate jazz band than a chamber ensemble on Grassroots
, their latest recording. And they utilize four musicians, not three. But these digressions are points in their favor, from a jazz lover's perspective. From the jump, the group offers a cool-jazz sound with a modern flavor. The compatible tones of guitarist Christian Eckert and saxophonist Steffen Weber combine in subtle and sublime ways, and each contributes masterful solos. But it's Matt Jorgensen's skillful drumming that drives the engine, providing a silvery current of excitement underneath it all. The three longtime bandmates recruited bassist Phil Sparks, whose resonant pizzicato can be particularly appreciated on "Tattoed by Passion," our selection. The Jorgensen composition has a tropical feel, and the drummer's fleet beat is unrelenting. Eckert and Weber are both afforded plenty of space for their impassioned solos, and the guitarist's chiming comps, along with Sparks' warm bass notes, keep the rhythm simmering. And to further prove they're no stodgy chamber group, they also offer a compelling jazz cover of Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit."