Seattle-born trio Tyrant Lizard grows to impressive heights

With bassist Carmen Rothwell and guitarist Gregg Belisle-Chi settling into New York City in the past couple of years, trumpeter Raymond Larsen keeps them coming back to Seattle. It had been two years since their last performance in the Northwest, but their musical development shows on their new album “Story Time.”

They have been so busy with other projects — each band member works steadily in at least two other groups — finding time for Tyrant Lizard hasn’t been easy. Happily, Larsen’s trips to New York and steady communication have meant a long life for this impressive unit.

Asked about how they’d chart their musical growth, all three noted more confidence and facility on their instruments while also acknowledging they’re all on a long journey of constant improvement.

Tyrant Lizard made their debut in our studios representing their alma mater’s Improvised Music Project (University of Washington) in early 2015. They celebrated their self-titled debut album with a live session on KNKX two years ago, and the new “Story Time” album is proof positive that this trio is a real force in modern jazz.

You can call them “Americana jazz,” or “triumphant folk,” or maybe even “chamber twang.” But the lyrical, wide-open beauty of Tyrant Lizard’s music has never sounded better.

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