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New & Noteworthy

November 2005

By Published: November 9, 2005
2005

Preeminent modern/free-jazz British jazz bassist Nick Stephens recorded these 1989 and 1990 live sessions with a cassette recorder. And the sound quality is surprisingly good. With notables such as drummer Mark Sanders and trombonist Annie Whitehead, among others, this band shoots for the stars in rather high-spirited fashion. What makes these tasty sides so enjoyable is the septet's forthright approach, combining harmonious themes with feisty choruses. A few tracks are constructed upon South African-style jazz themes. And of course there has always been a bond amongst British and South African jazz artists, which is a fact that doesn't necessitate any elaboration here. It's a hard-hitting two-CD gala that rises above the norm. Vastly entertaining and irrefutably energetic, this is one of those blasts from the past that transcends the norm.

Niacin

Organik

Magna Carta

2005

This newly issued studio project by the explosive jazz-rock organ trio cannot seem to find its way out of my CD player. And it's arguably the band's most comprehensive session to date. On this release, John Novello's hard-edged Hammond B-3 work steers the band through dynamically, pulsating grooves and knotty unison lines. The all-world rhythm section of bassist Billy Sheehan and drummer Dennis Chambers is as tight as a glove, but more importantly, these tunes offer gobs of staying power. There's an abundance of highly-charged soloing spots, whereas these pieces are engineered upon memorably melodic hooks and lyrically rich passages.

Wobbler

Hinterland

The Laser's Edge

2005

It took this Norwegian progressive rock band five years to get put finalize this project. And the good news is: Wobbler studiously revitalizes components of the '70s prog scene, while managing to craft an original sound and style. The musicians' fluent execution generates a radiant outlook, to complement sequences of thorny time signatures and more! Lars Fredrik Froislie intermixes analogue synths with acoustic and digital keys. And besides moments of fire and brimstone, the musicians' penchant for instilling tuneful passages into the grand mix, makes for a nicely-balanced production. Prog rockers should not let this one go by the wayside!

Fieldwork

Simulated Progress

Pi Recordings

2005

The trio's second outing offers more rhythmically challenging blitzkriegs and spiraling opuses. Saxophonist Steve Lehman and pianist Vijay Iyer are proven up-and-comers within global jazz circles, and this hard-hitting engagement provides credence to that notion. Veteran drummer Elliot Humberto Kavee propels the music into the ozone as the trio plots an oscillating course via its pleasantly neurotic approach. They have honed a distinctive approach to modern jazz, and that alone speaks volumes!



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