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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Wayne Horvitz: 55: Music and Dance In Concrete

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Reviewed on LP, the only other option for this release is a digital download, but with the latter you won't get the sharp colorful booklet that includes photos of the corresponding dance moves, choreographed by Yukio Suzuki and Wayne Horvitz' detailed album notes. The album was recorded at an old military base, Fort Worden that is situated in a state park outside of Seattle. In fact, the Fort serves as an additional instrument, especially heightened by the inherent analog vinyl pressing. The premise for this production emanates from Horvitz' numerous electronics works transposed to dance, video, and performed by the ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Microscopic Septet: Manhattan Moonrise

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In the 80s, the band engendered a cagey slant on mainstream swing and then morphed into the risk-taking New York downtown scene, eventually garnering widespread attention and sell-out crowds at the Knitting Factory and other hip venues. They regrouped in 2006, carrying the torch for what has become a singular sound, ingrained in classic jazz stylizations, bop, funk, and the free-jazz domain. Known for its quirky deviations, razor-sharp horns arrangements and melodic hooks, the septet's spunkiness and tightknit overtures align with the stars on Manhattan Moonrise. The musicians tackle a funk rock itinerary spiced with pianist Joel Forrester's ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Stefano Leonardi / Stefano Pastor / Fridolin Blumer / Heinz Geisser: Conversations About Thomas Chapin

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This European quartet assembles to honor the late, New York City-based saxophonist Thomas Chapin who rose to prominence via numerous stints at the legendary Knitting Factory venue and a host of four and five star albums for Knitting Factory Records and other adventurous labels. Chapin's trio work with bassist Mario Pavone, drummer Michael Sarin and engagements with a cast of prominent denizens of Manhattan's downtown scene emanated in some of the most thrilling outside jazz during the 80s and 90s. He was a poet who translucently merged the roughhewn aspects of free jazz with a resonating melodic touch, in concert ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Peppino D'Agostino: Penumbra

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Award-winning fingerstyle guitarist and co-founder of The Pacific Guitar Ensemble, Italy reared Peppino D'Agostino has been an internationally esteemed musician since his arrival to America 25-years ago. He's among the elite guitarists in this spectrum while spreading his wares across musical boundaries, steeped in many musical fronts. Agostino works within an operational mode evidenced by modern day greats such as Bert Jansch, Leo Kottke and Michael Hedges, yet like his famous peers, he embroiders a personal sound and style as he lives the songs he performs. His musicality can be equated to that of a lyricist who combines the twofold ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Indigo Mist: Cuong Vu - Richard Karpen: That The Days Go By And Never Come Again

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Pioneering trumpeter, composer Cuong Vu and pianist Richard Karpen push the envelope by not releasing a cut and dry tribute to Duke Ellington and his counterpart Billy Strayhorn . With a standard jazz quartet supported by iPad and electronics performers, to say this album follows mainstream jazz guidelines would be a miscue of sorts. Unconventional wisdom and atypical treatments accentuate this production of three Ellington-Strayhorn compositions and several originals by the quartet. According to Vu, the spirit of Ellington and Strayhorn presided during the recording session, amid references to the music taking on the semblance of an extended ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Sei Miguel: Salvation Modes

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Here, Portuguese trumpeter, composer Sei Miguel delves into his stockpile of older compositions that were seldom performed or recorded. And his customary, eccentric mode of operations is structured in an enticingly bizarre approach to jazz and jazz improvisation. On this release comprised of three extended tracks, the artist employs two quartets and a ten-piece ensemble as he crafts his attack with odd sound-sculpting metrics, minimalism, avant-space music, and paints liquescent hues atop placid rhythmic persuasions. “Fermata" is the shortest piece on the album at 9:40 and features a strange alignment of instruments, evidenced by Andre Goncalves' Hammond manipulation, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Various Artists: Light My Fire: A Classic Rock Salute to The Doors

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Southern California-based Purple Pyramid Records and producer, instrumentalist Billy Sherwood raised the bar with this tribute to The Doors by convening a star-studded cast, featuring classic rockers performing with progressive rock luminaries. And the jazz contingent is onboard, evidenced by jazz guitar great Larry Coryell appearing with Focus keyboardist Thijs Van Leer on “Love Me Two Times." When I first broke the seal on this recording and perused the personnel listing I was delighted yet partly suspicious, fearing this would be an unbalanced project and/or a riffing contest framed on The Doors songbook. Such is not the case. ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Spiral Mercury - Chicago/Sao Paulo Underground featuring Pharoah Sanders: Pharoah & The Underground

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Renowned tenor saxophonist Pharoah Sanders and new music, jazz-centric pioneer, cornetist Rob Mazurek bridge alternate generations of avant-gard-isms with this highly persuasive and indubitably, audacious production. It's an electro-acoustic meeting of futuristic minds, intersecting the trumpeter's Sao Paulo Underground and Chicago Underground ensembles. Moreover, they yield intergalactic nods to classic space rock via Guilherme Granado's inventive electronics, synths and samples permutations along with Matthew Lux's pumped up bass lines and Chad Taylor's sweeping drums patterns amid several distinctive indicators throughout. Several movements are modeled with blustery flights of fancy, complemented and expounded upon by Sanders and Mazurek's flourishing ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Djam Karet: Regenerator 3017

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The Southern California progressive rock band commemorates 30-years as a high-flying and highly esteemed unit with its 17th full-length album that to some extent rewinds back to the infancy of the genre. And while the group frequently enjoys critical success and a loyal fan base, the musicians openly recognize that commercial success is not the main driver, as they predominately focuses on the artistic side of matters. They don't tour a whole lot, yet their steadfast ability to zoom in on qualitative aspects, often elevate the totality of their output to higher ground via a manifesto, saliently nurtured with a ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Hi Fiction Science: Curious Yellow

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Indeed, this British quintet brings a qualitative aspect to the rock world, sans any filler material amid gestures to the 70s array of space-rockers, along with current art-rock persuasions and impressions of vintage Brian Eno's spectral electronics-based dreamscapes. Moreover, Maria Charles' beatific vocals, supported by solid undertones, enhance the band's mesmeric grooves, tinted with hypnotic etudes and an air of innocence. But several works cast lucid imagery of forbidden zones and cautionary implications, in addition to nouveau psychedelic riffs and ostinato-framed keys. Ultimately, the artists' harmonically attractive song-forms spawn an emotional connection via a magnetic group-centric aura. The ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Ross Hammond: Humanity Suite

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Guitarist Ross Hammond is building upon his conspicuous artistic persona as a new wave jazz and improvisational guitarist, composer who aligns with fellow West Coast denizens, including seminal Southern California based woodwind ace Vinny Golia and others. With a dozen albums under his belt, the guitarist has exponentially pushed the envelope, largely with great success. He also possesses an idiosyncratic style, where unanticipated curveballs, off-center phrasings and variable use of distortion techniques have become a primary component of his rangy articulations. Humanity Suite--reviewed on LP format--is one continuous, extended work that translates Hammond's emotive sensibilities into a long-form musical statement, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Clearlight: Impressionist Symphony

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French keyboardist Cyrille 'Clearlight' Verdeaux's 1974 issued Clearlight Symphony is purportedly a venerated gem by many progressive rock enthusiasts. Here, the artist celebrates the 40th anniversary of the initial release with a new venture, featuring the original cast of GONG band-mates, Steve Hillage (guitar), Tim Blake (synth, Theremin) and Didier Malherbe (reeds). Verdeaux asked the trio to reunite for this new symphonic impressionist rock project. Prominent prog artists such as Paul Sears (drums) of The Muffins and other notables lend their faculties on an album that offers a transparent and rather symmetrical fusion of classical music and rock, outlined with ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Sylvie Courvoisier – Mark Feldman Quartet with Scott Colley and Billy Mintz: Birdies For Lulu

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Pianist Sylvie Courvoisier and violinist Mark Feldman are a dynamic duo within the neoteric strategies of modern jazz, coupled with their substantial artistic output. They intersperse classical inferences with shades of folk, avant-garde schemas, and bristling improvisational segments into the big picture. This incarnation of the quartet now features upper-echelon session bassist Scott Colley and venerable drummer Billy Mintz. Essentially, the artists enrich the avant-classical genre by cultivating an undertow framed on swing, bop and concise opuses tinted with the appropriate doses of razzle-dazzle and free-flight mechanisms. Birdies for Lulu is a revelation of unanticipated surprises via the quartet's seamless ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Andy Biskin Ibid: Act Necessary

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Act Necessary is clarinetist-composer Andy Biskin's fifth album, where he integrates the jazz idiom into Americana, slapstick fare, funk and other disparate genres. He's an artist who stands out among his peers as he goes against the grain, while always mingling wit and whimsy into his overall musicality. Biskin's amiable and bubbly clarinet work forges an entryway into off-center rhythmic exercises amid a good-timey vibe; however, his music is not saccharine or schmaltzy. And he employs an all-star unit on this bass-less endeavor as he unifies old school jazz values, happy grooves and edgy overtones with shrewdly concocted modern jazz ...



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