May I Introduce To You
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When Sgt. Pepper taught the band to play, he couldn't have foreseen the extraordinary San Francisco String Trio. The Bay Area super-group featuring guitarist Mimi Fox, bassist/vocalist Jeff Denson, and violinist Mads Tolling has found a consistently enthralling vehicle for musical exploration in the 1967 masterpiece. May I Introduce to You is the trio's debut album and a loving homage to the classic Beatles record on its 50th anniversary. The SF String Trio brings together three celebrated masters who have each recorded critically acclaimed albums as bandleaders. Much like the Beatles drew on an array of traditions and styles in crafting Sgt. Pepper's, the cooperative ensemble approaches each track as an opportunity to imbue supremely familiar songs with a sense of delight and surprise. The idea was to do something different to shake up these fantastic songs, but not just for the sake of doing something new, says Fox. We're all coming from a jazz background and we like to mix things up. The trio's emotional connection to Sgt. Pepper's is evident throughout May I Introduce to You, and every track sheds a bright and revealing light on the genius of the Beatles. Tolling transfuses some of Joe Cocker's gospel fervor into his ballad arrangement of With A Little Help From My Friends, and sets a good deal of Lucy In the Sky With Diamonds to a crunching 5/4 beat. Fox evokes George Harrison's sitar with a sleek modal interpretation of Within You Without You and delivers a ravishing solo rendition of She's Leaving Home. Denson's arrangement of Fixing A Hole incorporates his striking vocals, as does his multilayered unpacking of A Day In the Life, another tour de force that distills the song's essence while winding its way to a surprising climax, with Fox's twang replacing the famous last crashing chord.