The Gay Disco Trio deals in large doses of intensity, all the while examining the juxtaposition of reluctant sentimentality with irreverent humor, and pushing the music to a point of sustained volatility. The second set of their show at Cornelia Street Café on July 17th, 2009, which fused elements of free jazz, rock, and funk, tended to lean on the side of high-energy, unguarded effusiveness, so the moments of vulnerability were especially poignant.
D’Angelo, who had a brain tumor removed in 2008, announced that he would rest periodically during the set. If he did rest, it was not apparent to the audience. The relentless vitality in his playing no doubt mirrors that of his struggle during his recent brush with death. But his resolve isn’t so consuming that it crowds out moments of weakness. In the set opener, “Norman,” his initial force over Jim Black’s brutish and loose rock beat suddenly yielded to sweetness, and the uneven vibrato in his tone resembled a human voice on the brink of tears.
The Gay Disco Trio’s new album is set for release sometime this summer.