April 2006

Glenn Astarita BY

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Rick Bishop

What 4

Rick Bishop


New England bassist Rick Bishop uses his chops to accompany divergent jazz styles on this independent release featuring a cast of regional musicians and students. His electric bass playing recalls the work of Michael Manring and Jaco Pastorius. On this collection of boogie-based swing grooves, traditional jazz workouts and a few pieces dappled with adroit unison runs, Bishop is the primary soloist. The musicians navigate through a few thorny time signatures, although some of the soloing endeavors by other members of the band are somewhat prosaic in scope and execution. Bishop's extended workout during the finale, "Improv —where he ingeniously renders a multitude of motifs, complete with complex harmonics and killer riffing—provides the knockout punch.

Dr John

Right Place, Right Time: Live at Tipitina's - Mardi Gras '89



This new release by New Orleans legend Dr. John at Tipitina's rings loud and clear, especially when considering the post-Hurricane Katrina debacle. The good doctor (Mac Rebennack) rekindles memories of the time-tested Mardi Gras spirit with his snazzy inflections and bluesy drawl. The band jubilantly morphs funk, rock and soul. Amadee Castanell's howling and soul-searching tenor sax solo on Dr. John's voodoo classic "Walking on Gilded Splinters is a highlight, and the band mixes it up nicely with time-honored rockers. This music was culled from hundreds of cassette recordings of live concerts, dubbed the Rebennack Chronicles, of which this is the second release. No doubt, fans of this New Orleans icon may find it difficult to eject this disc from the CD player.

Carl Maguire


Between the Lines


Pianist Carl Maguire explores African funk-groove motifs with sojourns into the free zone throughout this hustling and bustling quartet session featuring monster bassist Trevor Dunn. The spirited romp explores snaky angles and lucid developments. Maguire and alto saxophonist Chris Mannigan swap blistering fours to complement the band's climactic themes. This modern jazz date should not be relegated to obscurity.

Robert Sabin


Ranula Music


This New York City quartet abides by a forceful and no-nonsense constitution. A glance at the cover alone provides a clue that this recording is not for the faint of heart. Bassist Robert Sabin leads the foursome through grunge-drenched jazz-rock opuses that feature Mark Stanley's mind-numbing electric guitar lines and other pleasantries. The artists' semi-formal muse is based on strong, upfront soloing and spaced-out jamming. It's sort of like an action-packed adventure, tinged with an overriding sense of innocence and good cheer.

Canvas Solaris

Penumbra Diffuse



This Georgia-based progressive metal outfit merges layered synths, knotty time navigations and punishing rhythms atop segments consisting of Eastern modalities, making appealing use of global percussive instruments. Think progressive heavy metal with a college education! Overall, Canvas Solaris rises to the occasion on these high-spirited experiments because of a joint willingness to push the envelope beyond the tried and true.

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