Pots, pans, a rattle made of metal beads, and objects unknown mingle among Scott Amendola's snare, tom toms, bass drum, and Turkish cymbals. The Oakland percussionist, noted for his work over the past decade and a half with the likes of Charlie Hunter and Nels Cline, uses this unique battery to really kick ass. His thunderous solos seem to fly in several directions at once, yet they remain logical and groove-centered and at times suggest the influence of Max Roach. Working in tandem with John Shifflett's strong, wonderfully buoyant bass lines, Amendola lifts guitarist Jeff Parker's leads with a variety of rhythmic patterns, including samba, second-line, and 5/4 swing. All are given bouncing, delightfully different twists. Beeps, bops, and other electronics noises detract from, rather than enhance, the proceedings, but these fortunately are infrequent.
Parker, best known for his membership in the Chicago post-rock band Tortoise, is the only non-Bay Area player in the trio, which makes its recorded debut with Lift. He leaves plenty of open space in his solos, affording Shifflett and Amendola room to work in and around. His sweetly ringing tone on "Blues for Istanbul" and the title track brings to mind that of Bill Frisell, but he adopts a Duane Eddy-like twang for "The Knife," a rocker inspired by his friend Jim Campilongo. (SAZi records)