ARC Trio features pianist Rick Helzer, bassist Justin Grinnell, and drummer Nathan Hubbard. “The ARC Trio formed in late 2005, after I had spent the previous several months mentioning to Rick that we should get together with Justin,” says Hubbard. “Of course, everyone knew each other, as Justin and I had both gone through Helzer’s theory and composition courses at SDSU.”
“So it made sense and, after a few rehearsals, everyone was interested in performing in front of an audience. We started with some older Helzer pieces and a few Thelonious Monk and Wayne Shorter pieces. Since then, we have all written pieces for the group. Our first release Triptych Mirror is a nice document of the group’s sound, Helzer’s rich harmonic language as a starting point, with Grinnell and myself venturing off into unknown territory.”
It would be easy to categorize what the ARC Trio does as ECM music; that is, a form of chamber-jazz, but that's only partially accurate. Time and again, their music roars into a visceral swing, and the mutual distortions of time they employ suggest a complete absorption of principals established by the cutting edge of American improvisers.
In concert, there is a seamless transition between intricately notated materials into open forms that demand vigilant listening, and a fine-tuned balance between unfettered melodicism and raw, rhythmic forays into the unknown.
The band’s performances became infrequent after Hubbard relocated to Arizona. Bassist Justin Grinnell (Danny Green Quartet) released a solo full-length on December 1, 2013, at Dizzy’s in Pacific Beach, where performed with Josh Nelson on piano, Dan Schnelle on drums, and Robby Marshall on woodwinds.