320

Alex Machacek: 24 Tales

Ian Patterson By

Sign in to view read count
Alex Machacek: 24 Tales There's a spoken segment on one section of 24 Tales—a kind of simulation of computerized dialogue: "Hey Marco, do you like drumming all day?," asks guitarist Alex Machacek: "Yes I do," replies Marco Minnemann, and it's not difficult to believe. Machacek's most daring musical statement yet is based around a daunting, 51-minute drum improvisation by Minnemann. Asides from saxophonist John Coltrane, perhaps, it is difficult to recall many musicians improvising solo for such an extended length of time. Minnemann's drumming is completely compelling, too, and provides a mirror of sorts for Machacek, whose response is equally imaginative and as challenging technically.

This is a recomposed piece with brief improvisational passages, although at times it is difficult to discern the line between blinding improvisation and complex compositional form based around Minnemann's hypnotic polyrhythms. This may all sound like a technical exercise, which of course it is to an extraordinary degree. The richly harmonic depth of the music, however, and the multi-layered rhythms and sheer variety of textures and moods conveyed—combined with a virtuoso display from Machacek, whether improvising or not—makes for a powerful listening experience.

The 51 minutes is divided into 24 miniature musical essays, ranging in length from thirty seconds to four-and-a-half minutes, although the intention is surely to experience the entire piece uninterrupted. Minnemann's approach leaves acres of space for Machacek to explore, and the range of voicings that emanate from his guitar is vast. On just the opener, "On Your Marks...," heavy metal riffing precedes intricately weaved six-string patterns as light as spring rainfall, which n turn give way to Machacek's lightning-fast yet incredibly lucid solo.

Machaceks' shifts in meter, vocabulary and power dance around Minnemann's progressions, and can happen just as easily in a piece lasting 60 seconds as in one of the longer segments. Machacek plays acoustic slide one minute and funk riffs the next; sustained notes that soar follow on the heels of breathlessly fast guitar breaks, which can be electric or, as on "Tranquillo," acoustic. Machacek handles all additional instruments with impressive computer-programmed piano on "Tour de France," while "Dancing with the Baby Bear" is driven by Mannemann's hi-hat and explosive snare rolls.

"Amika," one of 24 Tales' more extended sections, is a standout track. From its lyrical beginning, the piece soon forays into rockier territory, and features a wonderful solo from Machacek. Also impressive is "She Likes It," which covers a remarkable amount of musical territory in less than five minutes. However, there isn't a single minute anywhere on this CD which isn't arresting for the breadth of ideas and the dazzling execution. Trombonist Martin Ptak brings an extra dimension, particularly on the mostly slow-grooving "Eau de Conlon," another outstanding track.

It will be interesting to see whether 24 Tales signals the beginning of more composed output from Machacek, as opposed to small group work. This recording endlessly demonstrates that Machacek is able to merge breathtaking improvisation and serious composition in an altogether unique and spellbinding way.


Track Listing: On your marks...; Sit Back and Chillax;Tour De France; Dancing with the Baby Bear;Aanmika; Pros and Cons of Depression; Little Man; Tranquillo; Tranquilizer; Sweet Torture; She Likes It; See You There; X-Mas; Feel Me!; At the Club; Eau de Colon; Doldrums; Minnema's in Da House; Run, Fusion!; Air; Sexy; Blender; Quotes; Over and Out.

Personnel: Marco Minneman: drums; Alex Machacek: guitars and everything else; Sumitra: vocals(2); Martin Ptak: trombone (12, 13, 15).

Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Abstract Logix | Style: Fusion/Progressive Rock


Related Video

Shop

More Articles

Read Acceptance CD/LP/Track Review Acceptance
by Tyran Grillo
Published: February 26, 2017
Read The Wild CD/LP/Track Review The Wild
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 26, 2017
Read This Is Nate Najar CD/LP/Track Review This Is Nate Najar
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 26, 2017
Read Joy Comes Back CD/LP/Track Review Joy Comes Back
by James Nadal
Published: February 26, 2017
Read Apocalypse CD/LP/Track Review Apocalypse
by Julian Derry
Published: February 26, 2017
Read The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door CD/LP/Track Review The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 25, 2017
Read "Disappearing Day" CD/LP/Track Review Disappearing Day
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: July 21, 2016
Read "One More Manhattan" CD/LP/Track Review One More Manhattan
by Jim Olin
Published: May 28, 2016
Read "WAHOO!" CD/LP/Track Review WAHOO!
by Greg Simmons
Published: February 13, 2017
Read "Mo' Puddin'" CD/LP/Track Review Mo' Puddin'
by Edward Blanco
Published: May 24, 2016
Read "Uptown Down" CD/LP/Track Review Uptown Down
by Jack Bowers
Published: July 26, 2016
Read "The Reasons Don't Change" CD/LP/Track Review The Reasons Don't Change
by Roger Farbey
Published: January 15, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!