Trillian Green
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Trillian Green

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The best kept secret in music


"Rocket Magazine Article"

Talkin’ bout a revolution. About the acoustic revolution, in fact. There’s a lot more to it than just unplugging your guitar. You don’t need to free your instrument, you also need to free your mind. The acoustic revolution is what Trillian Green are all about: no guitars, but a combination of cello, flute, and djembe (a drum, lest ye know not) that winds, twists, turns, and yes, even rocks.

“We came together two years ago,” explains cellist Christine Gunn. (Flute player) Ben Klein and I knew each other, and we’d played music under different circumstances. We’d backed up other bands, but when Ben and I played together, we got a good response.

“And when Jarrod Kaplan sat in on percussion at The Oregon Country Fair, it just clicked,” Ben continues. He added the texture to make it something to dance to.”

Or you could always just listen; the music more than compensates for the time spent on it. Melodic, complex, and open-ended, with influences from the Middle East, India, Africa, and Americas, it’s the work of three people who know how to listen, spark each other, and create.

“Some of the music comes from jamming,” Christine says, “but some is also very carefully constructed. The melodies are unrestricted; they’re in motion.”

“You have to be very focused,” Ben adds. “You always have to be listening to what the others are playing.”
While some who play music are happy to spend their time experimenting in the studio, Trillian Green are most definitely a live band. Even their CD, Psycho Tantric Juju Jazz, was recorded live in the studio. They play in clubs, outdoors, everywhere. That’s one of the beauties of the Acoustic Revolution. It can go anywhere.

“I’ve played at The Grand Canyon, in a tree, in the woods,” Ben Says. “What I get from that affects the way I play with the band.”

Their music evokes images. “We try to create landscapes,” says Jarrod. “ We try to evoke a certain place and time, and bring the audience to that.”

The experience can be profoundly trance-like, not only for the listener, but also the performer. “When we reach that stage, and it all opens up, I can find myself in a trance,” Ben agrees. “That’s the nature of the music. There has to be a lot of communication, letting your mind flow.”

All three members of the band are self-taught, but have plenty of chops; amateur hour this ain’t. Christine has just completed 2 European tours with The Walkabouts, and while she was gone, Ben and Jarrod put together a side project called Hanuman, which managed a tour of its own.

But now they’re back, at least for a while, and focusing on Trillian Green’s next steps. We’ve been in the studio with producer Billy Oskay to work on new material, which, Christine promises, “sounds amazing.”
While they occasionally bring on musical guests at their gigs, they’re also toying with the idea of possibly using dancers and others to “make the live show a complete experience.”

They’re ready to forge ahead, to build on the foundation they’ve laid (with no advertising, they’ve sold thousands of copies of their CD; impressive for a local band) while never forgetting what they’re about.
Emma Goldman once said that if she couldn’t dance, she wouldn’t take part in the revolution. I think, in sprit, she must be looking down at Trillian Green, leaders of the Acoustic Revolution, and moving very happily.
- Chris Nickson, Seattle, WA, 1996:

"Excerpt from The Seattle Times, “Sound Check” column Thurs. May 30th, 1996"

…When the band plays at festivals or on the streets, people can’t help but notice them: Gunn, the woman with flowing dark hair who embraces a moody cello; Kaplan, the bearded man with blurring hands as he pounds away on the drum, and Klein, the thin, almost cartoon-like figure, lurching his whole body as he loudly blows into a flute.

The purity of their performances and the clarity of their sound hearken back to simpler times, Klein says.
“It’s part of The Acoustic Revolution,” a term Klein started using two years ago to promote the idea that acoustic instruments still have a rightful place in music amid the widespread use of electric ones. Rather than assert power through volume, “acoustic revolutionaries” such as Trillian Green, use “direct human energy” – the breath on a flute or the skin-to-skin contact of playing a drum – to evoke feelings and stir the senses, Klein says…
- Written by Virginia de Leon

"The University Reporter (Nationally Syndicated Magazine) page 27, February 1996,"

A self-proclaimed Acoustic Revolution, the entire line-up was an impressive musical endeavor with instruments ranging from the cello to didjeridoo and featuring guest singers, belly dancers, and audience participation.

Apart from feeling like you were getting the world-wide instrument educational experience, percussion and melody triumphed in enchanting performances. Trillian Green was received enthusiastically by the crowd, who were mellowed out by the other bands and generally very familiar with the band.

The cello, flute, and percussion danced across the stage lit by three candelabras. The cello and flute complimented each other, and despite the somewhat gothic visual effects, the music bore no resemblance to chamber music. The flute was given new dimension and depth with the undertones of the cello, and likewise the cello’s melancholy was subdued. Add the percussion, and you get a musical ensemble that’s skill is only surpassed by their enthusiasm. If I had to pick one word to describe the entire evening, it would be fervor.
- Written by Julie Darnell

"The CA Aggie: Psycho Tantric Juju Jazz CD review"

“Psycho Tantric Juju Jazz.” The name presumes a lot. At this point in musical history, we’ve heard enough kooky caprice, swallowed enough new-age psychobabble. And isn’t everything some kind of Jazz Fusion these days? I mean, come on, jazz is the bedrock of American music. And what the hell is a juju?

But this band doesn’t rely on its quirky name. These three instrumentalists are nothing short of masters in practice, and it’s amazing what they can do with a cello, a flute, and some drums. From nymph-trots to panic blues descents to meditative jazz digressions, this band swings between styles, penetrating many, but towing to none. They hold high ground, incorporating styles rather than groping after a certain “sound.”
Trillian Green likes to generate and develop a specific musical trance, testing how many layers of rhythm, syncopation and improv can be laid over a predictable, but complex theme.

If you need something to accompany your Yoga routine, a tasteful album to cook by, or just something to snap you out of your power chord progressions, “Psycho Tantric Juju Jazz” will have you jigging around the kitchen,the studio, the forest. - By N. Andy Hilal, April 25th 1996

"Victory Review: Psycho Tantric Juju Jazz CD review"

This trio of Christine Gunn (Cello), Ben Klein (Silver Flute), and Jarrod Kaplan (Percussion) are the NW answer to “Trio Globo” (Friesen, Levy, Velez). They work with floating structures with some ethnic tinge as in “Ben Pa Ul Raga”, or subtle building in “The Secret.” Gunn’s cello is classically inspired & soars in the dancing, “Something Green.”

Trillian Green are at home improvising, working with minimalist approaches or weaving in and out of structures. The musicianship is very high, and these artists all work in the studio, tour, and have independent musical careers. It shows. This CD was recorded live in the studio, and has a fresh, warmth that this kind of arrangement allows. The texture and weaving is particularly well done in “The Chase.” Klein’s Flute swirls and darts in “Poxible.”

They are very tight, which the floating tunes would not show, but the bouncing, quick stop time of “Cross-eyed Crane Fly” exhibits their cohesion. Kaplan’s percussion is amazing and precise throughout; just listen to the work on “Uakti.” Lush, flowing, musical warmth, that is most highly recommended to the Classical ensemble & Jazz audiences. Very enjoyable.
- By Chris Lunn, Vol. 21 / #8 Aug. 1996


TRILLIAN GREEN: "Psycho Tantric Juju Jazz" (Released 1994, Re-Released 2005)
TRILLIAN GREEN: "Metamorphoses" (Produced by Mark Nichols, Released 1997)
BEN KLEIN: "Ben Flutism" (w/bassist James Whiton & percussionist Tom Armstrong, released in 1999)
CHRISTINE GUNN: "The Voice of A Tree" (Dark Chocolate layers of Solo Cello,
released 2000).


Feeling a bit camera shy


In 1994, TRILLIAN GREEN: Ben Klein (Silver Flute), Christine Gunn (Cello), and Jarrod Kaplan (Percussion) met and began performing at The Oregon Country Fair. Soon after, The Trio developed their act on the Streets of Seattle, performing guerrilla style at Bumbershoot, Folklife, The Fremont Fair, The University Street Fair, and
many other festive events. Coaxed by their rapidly growing, snail-mail informed fan base, they recorded a live (with Studio audience) CD, entitled, “Psycho Tantric Juju Jazz,” and sold hundreds of copies within the 1st 2
months of its release; solely at performances.

With a recording, and a mailing list, came shows in local Seattle Cafes & Venues. Sporting unique instrumentation, a lot of energy on stage, and music that seemed to cross many genre boundaries, TRILLIAN GREEN played to audiences of all types: from shared bills with the hardest of Seattle Grunge and Alternative Rock acts at The Offramp, to beyond-capacity packed acoustic shows at Café Paradiso and The Black Citroen (now extinct, in Fremont).

Trillian Green’s music, and act, had an appeal to audiences of all ages & walks of life. Younger audiences were drawn to the band’s energy & mystique, as well as the danceability of the music. Older audiences enjoyed the band’s acoustic instrumentation & melodic sensibility; and the fact that the group didn’t have to play loud to convey the music’s power & intensity. Universally, the band’s chemistry & connection with the audience was very entertaining to be a part of…

At the time Trillian Green was becoming more renown, a few other unique acoustic instrumental bands, songwriters, and acts, were beginning to emerge in the Seattle Scene: MANAH (Tom Armstrong, Elizabeth Pupo-Walker, and Steve Gauci), SPIRIT HOUSE, ERIC APOE & THE FURNACE, REGGIE GARRETT & THE SNAKE OIL PEDDLERS, THE NEW DRUIDS, THE BILLY TIPTON MEMORIAL SAX QUARTET (Amy Denio & Jessica Lurie), TRES MUNDOS, BAKSHISH, BABY GRAMPS, ARTIS THE SPOONMAN, JIM PAGE, and guitarist RICK SABO were a few of the acts performing in similar venues. Many bands were sharing musicians & supporting each other’s shows. Cafes & venues harbored Acoustic Musicians, and with a thriving scene of supportive fans, there was a sense that the “Post-Grunge Seattle Music Scene” had arrived.

From the stage, at a sold out Black Citroen show in 1995, Ben Klein coined the term, “THE ACOUSTIC REVOLUTION,” with an inspired declaration that Acoustic Music could powerfully & forcefully take over the mainstream music realm. Soon after, Jarrod Kaplan (the band’s Percussionist & Manager) further defined the term to describe the scene that “revolved around” the creation of Acoustic Music. With Trillian Green as the catalyst, Jarrod started OMNIVINE RECORDS and AGENCY to distribute recordings for, and book many of the acts within the Acoustic Revolutionary Family of bands.

Trillian Green’s 1st West Coast tour in the Summer of 1995 had the band performing 31 shows (incl. Radio Stations & Record Stores) in 28 days, from Bellingham, WA to Santa Cruz CA. In some cases (in SF) the band performed at more than one venue in the same day. Days before shows were either spent Street Performing, or driving around distributing recordings (in person) to Radio Stations and Music Stores.

…On one occasion, at a venue in San Francisco, Trillian Green was sharing a show with a heavy Rock act called, Elysian Fields. The venue was set up with 2 stages, and the bands alternated 45-minute sets. After Elysian Fields finished their 1st set, the band’s dark audience moved over to fill the tables in front of Trillian Green’s candle-lit Stage.

At first, it didn’t look like the crowd was too happy to see a trio with Cello, Flute, and a Djembe player. In fact, a few people heckled the band, “What the hell is that, an overgrown violin?!”, “Come on flute-boy, let’s see what you got…” The funny thing was that, by the middle of the 1st song, the same people who’d been heckling were jaw-dropped, and all bought CDs at the end of the set!…

As a result of a lot of hard work, and a lot of performing, by the middle of 1996, TRILLIAN GREEN was informing a mailing list of thousands of fans, and selling out THE BACKSTAGE (500 Capacity, Seattle), EAGLES HALL BALLROOM, (350 Capacity, Bellingham, WA), THE MT. TABOR THEATER (400 Capacity, Portland, OR), THE WOW HALL (500 Capacity, Eugene, OR), THE MARK ANTHONY BALLROOM (300 Capacity, Ashland, OR), as well as 300-400 Capacity Venues in N. CA, from Arcata to Santa Cruz. This sell-out show trend continued through the end of the band’s career in February 1998, when, with no advertising, THE TRACTOR TAVERN (Seattle) had to turn away over 100 fans, some of who drove from as far as Canada, Montana, and N. CA inspired by the “rumor” that this was to be Trillian Green’s final show.

In 1996 and 1997, Trillian Green found themselves on Main Stages at BUMBERSHOOT, NW FOLKLIFE, THE FREMONT FAIR, THE SEATTLE PEACE CONCERTS (Gasworks