Ron Carter Nonet
Recorded in 1990, and recently released in the States, Ron Carter uses a piccolo bass here, while handing over the upright bass duties to Leon Maleson. Featuring a jazz quintet, the fun factor really gels with the addition of the quartet of cellists, who add texture and a sprightly symphonic edge to these jazz-based works. One of the major highlights resides within Carter’s delicately plucked lead lines during Leon Russell’s tender ballad, “A Song For You.” Overall, this is an enjoyable, and undeniably upbeat outing from this time-honored bassist.
Dan Moretti and “Once Through”
Whaling City Sound
Saxophonist Dan Moretti and keyboardist Tim Ray display gobs of synergy in concert with a guitar, bass, and drums rhythm section that rise to the occasion, regardless of tempo or momentum. The leader and Ray’s feisty Hammond B-3 workouts, consisting of highly charged swing vamps, and more, provides emphasis to the band’s cheery disposition. The saxophonist reconfigures Lennon & McCartney’s “And I Love Her,” into a probing ballad to complement a series of samba and hard hitting groove oriented, jazz opuses. Whereby, the pristine audio characteristics only enhance this conclusively vivacious affair.
Electric bassist Sean Malone leads this progressive rock project along with assistance from superheroes, guitarist Steve Hackett and drummer Bill Bruford. Malone also uses a “Stick” while adding keys and loops to his arsenal at various points throughout. The leader also receives strong support from guitarist Jason Gobel and others for what stacks up to be a highly charged guitar/bass/drums-heavy set. It’s mostly about penetrating backbeats, massive sheets of sound, and an altogether impacting group vibe along with some effective soloing by Malone and his musical associates. Many of these pieces ring like organized jam sessions, amid the propulsive qualities of bands such as “King Crimson,” and other prog acolytes. However, “Gordian Knot,” is mostly about a straightforward, no-nonsense approach sprinkled with elements of finesse.
Pianist Sten Sandell performs solely on the Baldwin SD-10 piano, for a markedly inventive set, which highlights the artist’s wide-ranging music vernacular. Sandell’s brainchild comprises equal parts, contemporary classical and free-jazz improvisation to complement a few minimalist type musings. He weaves odd harmonic ostinatos into semi-quiet upper register choruses amid disjointed, rhythmic exercises and enticingly strange interludes. The pianist lets it all hang out here. Whereas, he executes these eight pieces via a disciplined sense of direction, besides all of the subtle deviations from conventional solo piano fare.