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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mark Helias - Tony Malaby - Tom Rainey: The Signal Maker

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Celebrated bassist Mark Helias brings his all-star Open Loose trio back to the studio where compositions are reimagined, and heavy doses of improvisation are devised with a whole lot of cunningness. With these 13 pieces, the band infuses changeable and buoyantly rendered grooves, ideas, and detours, highlighted by the respective musicians' signature styles and striking intuitiveness. It's a manifold program that projects a sense of adventure via off-kilter deviations, gobs of counterpoint and a flock of shrewdly conceptualized twists and ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Pulsarus: Bee Itch

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When discussing progressive jazz contexts, let us not forget our brothers and sisters in Poland who have been riding the cutting-edge schema for decades, evidenced by pianists Adam Makowicz, Marcin Wasilewski, trumpeter Tomasz Stańko and other notables of the global jazz and improvising network. However, the young For Tune record label highlights fledgling talent and seasoned vets who may not be household names in the West. Hence, Pulsarus is a prime of example of a band that ventures outside the ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Luzia von Wyl Ensemble: Frost

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The age-old debate, regarding the pros and cons of melding classical music with other genres will live on. And of course, the oil and water analogies will be discussed as many hybrid encounters may seem contrived, evidenced by hard-rock guitar solos wailing above syrupy strings arrangements or abstract scenarios where free-jazz soloists merge chamber music and so on. But classically trained Swiss pianist, composer Luzia von Wyl resides on a higher plane with this masterful program, combining hornists, strings and ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Bly De Blyant: Hindsight Bias

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This genre-leaping international trio is fronted by Norwegian drummer Øyvind Skarbø, and features Icelandic guitarist Hilmar Jensson (TYFT, Jim Black's AlasNoAxis) and Brooklyn-based multi-instrumentalist Shahzad Ismaily (Marc Ribot, John Zorn). With its second album, the trio's enterprising electro-organic mix proffers a sense of adventure via these compact and disparate pieces, underscored by memorable themes, which is a recurring factor that seeds a delightfully prismatic program. The musicians gradually construct a mid-tempo Indie-rocker with an appealing hook on “Jiddu," ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Ensemble Super Moderne: Ensemble Super Moderne

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Portugal has become a state-of-the-art hotbed for creative jazz musicians and improvisers, duly represented by driving forces such as the Clean Feed record label. And Ensemble Super Moderne is another exciting Portuguese unit that skirts the outside realm by surging into ultra-progressive modern jazz persuasions. Hence, this self-titled album, housed in an oversized 45RPM sized CD jacket, offers a bountiful aural feast for jazz enthusiasts who demand something new and exciting to enter their listening space. These folks ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Friends & Neighbors: Hymn For A Hungry Nation

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This Norwegian band derives its moniker from one of saxophonist Ornette Coleman's slightly overlooked units Friends and Neighbors, culminating in the 1970 release Live At Prince Street on the Flying Dutchman label. But the impetus for the ensemble's doctrine resides in the expressive 60s era where Coleman, and other like-minded pioneers often ravaged conventional sensibilities of the jazz vernacular. Here, the good news is that these musicians do not simply rehash the paths previously traversed but provide a dynamic incursion, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Fish On Friday: Godspeed

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Fish on Friday is a highly focused multinational progressive rock band and not necessarily alluding to a Friday fish fry during the Christian observances of Lent. You won't detect any filler material on this meticulously produced album, spanning alternative, Indie and progressive rock via soothing vocals and engaging harmonic content. Occasionally, the musicians instill memories of Britain's fabled Canterbury prog rock scene as several comps are designed with asymmetrical doses of chutzpah and majestic choruses amid tender synth overlays and ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Evan Parker - Paul Dunmall - Tony Bianco: Extremes

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In the album notes, eminent drummer Tony Bianco advises that the various discourses of this program “were about the times we live in." It's a fitting correlation to the album moniker, featuring two legendary British improvisers, saxophonists Paul Dunmall and Evan Parker engaging in kinetic and at times, calamitous dialogues. Moreover, the Canadian label Red Toucan Records celebrates 20-years in business with its 50th release, fittingly provided by this powerhouse trio. The program sort of encapsulates the label's daring and ...



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