Golden Arm Trio
The Cry Pitch Carrolls (SVT)
Reviewed by Wayne Alan Brenner, Fri., Nov. 21, 2003
Golden Arm TrioThe Cry Pitch Carrolls (SVT) Salvage Vanguard Theater's latest CD, The Cry Pitch Carrolls, features three studio tracks before it gets to remastered excerpts from their original 1999 production of Ruth E. Margraff's strange and beautiful musical. Longtime SVT collaborators the Golden Arm Trio provide substantial instrumental blessings for both sections. Those two facts alone will be enough to recommend this CD to fans of Margraff or that protean local trio. For others -- especially those interested in classical music put through modern and text-enhancing paces, and those who aren't allergic to theatrical maneuvers in the twilight -- take note. The disc begins with actress Lee Eddy lilting "Norma's Proscenium" in a wealth of a cappella reverberation, allowing Margraff's words to work their creepy power otherwise unadorned. "Road to Emmaus Carroll" is next, adding a layer of piano as April Mathis and Dana Clark assay its driving gospel structure. The final studio piece, "Primary Red Awash," is voiced by the always-amazing Tina Marsh, who effortlessly defines the gentle/hysteric range of sound and feeling and is abetted by Graham Reynold's precise keyboards. And the holy bulk of this CD, the live capturing of the "nostalgic nuclear winter Christmas story"? Good news: The remastering was a success. Much ambient noise has been removed, there's better balance between voices and other instruments, and the original production -- runaway poodle, snowball-throwing Jesus and all -- shines almost as well as the quirky genius of Margraff's holiday narrative deserves to.