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November 2003

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TriPod

TriPod

Moonjune Records

The trio’s first effort for this enterprising New York City-based progressive rock record label is a power packed affair indeed. Think of asymmetrical parts, Van Der Graaf Generator, Morphine and King Crimson morphed into one neat little package, enhanced by twelve-string bassist Clint Bahr’s zealous vocalizations. The instrumentation consists of drums, bass, and sax, as the band’s scorching rhythmic maneuvers complement a fast track methodology. They circumvent any perceived limitations due to the lack of a guitarist or keyboardist. (Feverishly recommended...)

Bird Up – The Charlie Parker Remix Project

Various artists

Savoy Jazz

Performers such as Dr. John, Ravi Coltrane, the X-Ecutioners and others, remix actual Charlie Parker tracks into something that is rooted within the techno, EFX, and trip-hop arenas. It’s an interesting endeavor where classic bop recordings such as “A Night In Tunisia” are transposed into modern day tone poems, awash with snazzy beats and various MIDI treatments. Conversely, this recording emerges as a rather impressive engineering project, capped off by quite a few points of interest.

Red Door Number 11

Garrison Fewell Quartet

Splasc(h) Records

Guitarist/educator Garrison Fewell and his quartet, featuring highly regarded pianist George Cables and a tight knit Italian rhythm section, purvey a sophisticated approach. Fewell is noted for his deep-rooted sense of melody to complement his sleekly rendered single note lines and intricately constructed chord progressions. They swing relatively hard, yet the proceedings never get out of hand or deviate into an abyss of convolution. First-class mainstream jazz it is!

Colors

David Liebman

hatOLOGY Records

Sax great David Liebman goes it alone here, performing solely on tenor. Essentially, Liebman delves into an exploration mission, as he deviates from most semblances of convention. He explores the upper registers via plaintive cries and shrieking high notes, or just about anything your imagination might reconcile. All these pieces are titled after colors, so the saxophonist provides the listener with various incarnations of hues and textures. Liebman fans should be delighted with this enthralling program.

Testimony

Neal Morse

Radiant Records

Vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Neal Morse is noted for his work with Spock’s Beard and Transatlantic. With this two CD set, the artist pulls out the stops, so to speak, via a deeply personal modus operandi spanning love and religion. He spoofs pop-rock icons The Eagles on one track, yet Morse and his extensive array of collaborators surge onward with multipart time changes, blistering backbeats and attractive string arrangements. Overall, the production rings like a (Christian) rock opera, where Morse’s positive communiqué parlays his love of life in concert with a higher authority. Many of these pieces are fabricated upon triumphantly conveyed melodies and complexly woven movements. Easily, a top pick for 2003.

The Last Martini

Wolfson & Grenadier

Wayne Wolfson & Grenadier

Californian Wayne Wolfson is a noted author who teams up with the band known as Grenadier for a suavely executed electronics-drenched program filled with pulsating backbeats and sweeping synth treatments. It’s a relatively brief recording, but loads of fun as Wolfson recites the text atop EFX processing and grooving rhythms. Think of a coffeehouse, where poets advance the Beat Generation into some sort of twist on an Orwellian reading of absolutism.


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