This recent studio date is guitar hero Vernon Reid's second outing with this band. And as the guitarist ruminates, "We're on a planet hurtling through space. We're all so lonely. So we make connections. We build connections. A portion of the musical ideology of Reid's manifesto derives from a strong bond with his band, a community of like-minded individuals, which often yields positive results. The quartet covers the late, great drummer Tony Williams' "Wildlife and Radiohead's "National Anthem," along with several Reid originals. It's not as mind-boggling in scope as Masque's previous effort, but it's accelerated by a divergent morphing of genres: dub grooves, an Irish-jig breakout, jazz inflections and pulverizing funk-rock. Reid's heavily sustained guitar licks generate a massive wall of sound, and his speedy runs are razor-sharp and often climactic. This multifaceted, well-schooled stylist has the ability to adopt numerous slants and influences within this uniquely extrapolated project.
In Your Dreams
MD 2020 is an intimately concocted jazz trio date of eight collective improvisations. The glib album title references a cheap wine (MD 2020 = Mad Dog 2020). However, the serious nature of the band's demeanor offsets any implications of rambunctious interplay. Think of rolling hills and linear developments, often spearheaded by soprano saxophonist Henry Lee's warmly articulated and soaring lines. In addition, the trio makes excellent use of space, infused with bump and grind movements and loosely swinging vamps. They cover jazz-blues and mood-evoking scenarios by alternating flows, generally with a noticeable camaraderie.
Jorrit Dijkstra + John Hollenbeck
These two noted improvisers/composers generate a dynamic and inventive series of tone poems by combining disparate rhythmic angles with contrasting electronics and gruff dialogues. Dijkstra and Hollenbeck keep matters on the up and up by multitasking with divergent instrumentation, including tin whistles, lyricon, autoharp, and more conventional tools of the trade. At times they execute fractured stop/start movements with antique-sounding electronics and creaky explorations. They cross borders throughout this rather playful session, where surrealism attains a judicious mix with modern jazz improvisation. Dijkstra and Hollenbeck convey a hodgepodge of musical notions, and their abstract musings reap substantial dividends.