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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Barry Romberg's Random Access: The Gods Must Be Smiling

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Over the last 10 years, Random Access has seen changes in its lineup. The concept of the band came from drummer Barry Romberg, who began with home experiments in 2001. His object was to play music spontaneously and, with that idea in mind, the first incarnation of the band came into being. The seven-piece unit consisted of two guitars, trumpet, saxophone, bass, drums and percussion, though the guitars and percussion were eliminated when the group pared down to a quartet. Romberg has also taken the outfit into a purely acoustic realm and, to complete the picture--at least at this stage--retains ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Barry Romberg's Random Access: Big Giant Head

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Barry Romberg's Random Access marches on to part six of its musical journey, called Big Giant Head. With all the accolades that have greeted earlier efforts, the size of the head is not surprising.

Romberg says that this recording and the previous one, Accidental Beef, (Romhog Records, 2006), involve the most structure the band has had while keeping to the concept of an open harmonic format. This works well as each player opens up the composition to invention and brings in host of delightful surprises.

The music shifts into varied terrain, picking up the harmonic centre of several sound patterns ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Barry Romberg's Random Access: Accidental Beef

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Barry Romberg's Random access continues its musical adventures with some Accidental Beef that was put together at the Rex Hotel in Toronto. It was a good night: the band exudes a raw, intense urgency that has been captured in all its glory. The music balances improvisation with a basic structure, providing a perfect base for the musicians to take off on a trajectory or play in consonance. As they have done on past recordings, they do so once again, with emphasis.

Romberg is as imaginative a drummer as he is a composer and leader. He lets “Blair's Choice ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Barry Romberg's Random Access: Accidental Beef

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Canadian drummer Barry Romberg's Random Access, with four previous studio recordings to its credit, has made its name with a carefully crafted electronic sound, owing much to Miles Davis' late-'60s/early-'70s recordings. With Accidental Beef, part five in the Random Access series, he takes the group outside the tighter confines of the studio for an excellent live recording that proves itself his most compelling work to date.With a mix of spontaneity and and tight grooves, this sound churns with the power rock muscle of Geoff Young's guitar slashing over the driving percussion of Romberg and Blair Mackay. Add the ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Barry Romberg: No Soap Radio

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Toronto drummer/Romhog Records factotum Barry Romberg probably needs to go out and get some sun and fresh air. Fortunately for us, however, he can't be bothered; he's too busy toiling in the bowels of his Romhog Digital studio making recordings like No Soap Radio, the fourth in his Random Access series. The Random Access formula's simple enough. First Romberg improvises in the studio with mainstays like guitarist Geoff Young and violinist Hugh Marsh--no preconceived notions, no rules. Then it's time for hour after hour of subtraction--studio editing, shaping, trimming--and addition--multiple overdubs of additional players like saxophonist Kelly Jefferson and trumpeter ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Barry Romberg: No Soap Radio

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One of the first things that is apparent when looking at this CD is that Barry Romberg has a sense of humour, evident not only in the titles of his compositions, but also the text of the liner notes, particularly a question and the relevant answer. The crackerjack band he has includes some of the finest improvisers who can take a melody, lay it open, and make it whole again. That they have played together before makes their empathy all the more telepathic and vibrant.

No Soap Radio is a continued progression (part four) of Romberg's “Random Access ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Barry Romberg: Random Access Part 3

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Canadian drummer Barry Romberg (who played last month as the drive behind the large ensemble NOJO at Jazz Standard) has released the third part of his Random Access series. As with previous installments, he has gathered together a noteworthy cadre of his friends that include some of Canada's top jazz musicians to present a percussively led paradise of sound. In this case, nine musicians join Romberg in various combinations for a completely original program.There is a definite fusion feel to these offerings. This is in no small part due to Romberg employing synth and electric percussion alongside his ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Barry Romberg: Random Access Part 3

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It's hard to ignore a set that includes a musical dedication to the late Long Beach, California poet laureate, Charles Bukowski. The closer on Toronto-based drummer Barry Romberg's Random Access Part 3 does so with “The Long Haul," referencing, perhaps, Bukowski's long slog to a belated success as an author of distinctively gritty prose and poetry.The disc is touted as “musical experiment," a creation of musical structure out of chaos. That--deleting the word “musical"--might be the essence of all art. Romberg's art here is group improvisation shaped into a tight structure with overdubbing.Barry Romberg's sound hasn't ...



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