Published since 1997
Longtime contributor to AAJ and Downbeat, Jazz Review, EjazzNews, Radio DirectX.
Dimitri Grimm (Dimlite) revs up a party atmosphere with synth-based layers, quirky noises and quaint melodies on this his third release. Vocalists are featured on some tracks, and trippy textures are coupled with old fashioned space-rock. However, Grimm's solid beats include a modern upgrade. On "Hungeryears & Advanced Communication, he stirs the pot with madcap background banter, and elsewhere adds urban rap to the mix. But Grimm varies the sound with whispery dreamscapes and textures. An attractive hybrid of electronica and house pulses, in a varied and entertaining format, which locates a few unanticipated nooks and crannies along the way.
Ensemble Modern Conducted by Arturo Tamayo
Morton FeldmanFor Samuel Beckett
hat [now] ART
Composer Morton Feldman's friendship with renegade composer John Cage spawned many works that went against the proverbial grain. In 1977 he composed the opera Neither featuring text by the revered Irish playwright, Samuel Beckett. Morton FeldmanFor Samuel Beckett, recorded by Ensemble Modern in 1992, presents Feldman's minimalist talent in glittering fashion. The music bespeaks stillness and calm, touched with fear and the unknown. It's a trance-like state of being where colors are gradually blended over time. Despite only barely detectable shifts in tempo and rhythm, the music is unfailingly compelling.
Guitarist Stew Cutler's diverse musical background draws upon a multitude of genres. An accomplished sideman, performing with soul-pop crooners like Percy Sledge and Wilson Pickett, he has also worked in jazz, funk and avant-garde circles. Cutler's assorted bag of tricks come to fruition on this peppy live outing, where he kicks out the jams via an amalgamation of styles and a few thrashing meltdowns. His rhythm section occasionally kick matters into high-gear but it's Cutler who looms as the driving force, due to his fiery single note flurries and off-kilter jazz-blues phrasings. He tops it all off with odd meters and odder, blitzing crescendos. Cutler is an exciting soloist who enjoys a bit of genre-bashing along the way.
Orleans To London
Could Jimmy McIntosh become the next progressive rock guitar hero? With his debut release, the artist performs with members of the Neville Brothers from New Orleans and Rolling Stone guitarist Ronnie Wood from London, sidestepping his lengthy career as an in-demand Las Vegas area guitarist with a feisty cornucopia of funk-rock and gutsy Texas style blues. Ivan Neville sings on "It Was A Virus, but the remaining tracks are built around McIntosh's wailing hardcore licks, all executed with a nasty mindset as he stretches his strings to the hilt. On the finale, Jimi Hendrix's "Third Stone From The Sun, the guitarist shreds his axe into miniscule morsels atop bassist Rochon Westmoreland's pumping ostinato groove.
The charming photos of female Japanese keyboard whiz Hiromi Uehara gracing the cover might suggest lighthearted musical fare. But upon further inspection, the credits indicate that jazz-fusion guitar god David Fiuczynski performs here. Along with budding bass giant Tony Grey and drummer Martin Valihora, the quartet ventures towards shock-therapy, whirling-dervish style jazz-fusion. Uehara integrates the acoustic piano with synths while Fiuczynski's licks add an imposing edge. The band doesn't chart new territory, but many of the leader's compositions feature melodic hooks that effectively complement the players' energized soloing ventures. More importantly, the band conjures up a multifacated portfolio where jazz roots are sometimes parlayed with classical-like regimentation. In the choicest spots, the musicians let it fly with playful, reckless abandon.
Prince Of Fyah Vol.1
(May 22nd) 2007
Stephen Moulton (Ras Myrhdak) is a reggae artist who delivers an optimistic vibe tinged with a soulful edge. This is his debut American release. Featuring female background singers, the dub grooves are instilled with portions of oomph and pizzazz to complement Myrhdak's warmhearted manner of spinning a melody. Myrhdak is backed by the crème de la crème of regional studio musicians. At times, his stylization spurs notions of classic Bob Marley, but overall this outing snugly resides in a contemporary context, marked by sharp arrangements and a festive musical atmosphere.
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