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December 2003

Glenn Astarita By

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The Sublime And

Tim Berne’s Science Friction

Thirsty Ear Recordings

Alto saxophonist Tim Berne generates massive doses of excitement and spine tingling thrills a minute throughout this wondrous live recording of a performance in Switzerland. The bass-less unit breathes fire and brimstone through these climactically enacted works. It’s an electro-acoustic outing, featuring pianist Craig Taborn’s spacey Fender Rhodes work and laptop-produced EFX. Berne’s longtime associate, guitarist Marc Ducret adds a bit of pleasant madness to these extended jaunts via his angular mode of execution. Consequently, drummer Tom Rainey’s on-top-of-the-beat sensitivities and blistering fills, consummate this fun-filled modern jazz based exploration.

Arcane Device: Engines of Myth

David Lee Myers


David Lee Myers is a New York City based sound and visual artist. These works are culled from the out-of-print LPs titled Arcane Device 1: Engines of Myth and Arcane Device 3: Improvisations for Feedback. Not being intimately familiar with this artist, these EFF based manipulations are seemingly founded upon pre-1970s synth/computer generated tonalities. In addition, the artist’s website discloses more of the technical details. Myers’ produces undulating waves of sound, by intentionally delving into the mechanics of the machines via feedback-induced mechanisms. The somewhat chunky analogue effects signify the direct antithesis of cleanly activated digital technologies. It’s more like a madcap science project with musical overtones. Hence the byproducts yield some curiously interesting results. (Distributed by ReR Megacorp )

Fuori le Mura

Gabriele Mirabassi & Luciano Biondini

EGEA Records

For the uninitiated, this Italian record company’s mission is to highlight artists who intertwine the sounds and themes of the Mediterranean with modern jazz centric foundations. Here, Gabrielle Mirabassi (clarinet) and Luciano Biondini (accordion) effortlessly whirl through a series of works that offer the best of both worlds. And the producers’ crystalline audio processing enhances it all; to coincide with the musicians’ blithely rendered themes, awash with notions of cheery musings. Accordingly, the musicians’ finesse and ease of execution only heightens the overall listening experience.

Heartbreak Hill

Albert Lee

Sugar Hill Records

He’s an Englishman who fell in love with American roots music decades ago. With this effort, guitar god Albert Lee pays homage to his former “Hot Band” boss: vocalist Emmylou Harris. Lee reaps the benefits of a star-studded cast, featuring Dobro master Jerry Douglas, banjoist Earl Scruggs and other C&W/Bluegrass notables. Lee’s slick picking Fender guitar work speaks for itself here. As he also shines forth as a capable vocalist, throughout this amalgamation of works composed by Townes Van Zandt, Graham Parsons, Delbert McClinton and others.


Steve Howe’s Remedy

Inside Out Music America

Steve Howe’s legacy among the crème de la crème of progressive rock guitarists emanates from his legendary participation with Yes, amid a lengthy solo career. His latest effort is a family affair, featuring Virgil (keyboards) and Dylan (drums) amid a horns section and other contributors. The guitarist goes genre hopping across bluesy grooves: jazz, rock, and folk. As many of these pieces are tinted with memorably melodic hooks in concert with Howe’s intricately constructed guitar parts. For the guitar technologists, Howe provides a comprehensive manifesto of his gear, including EFX devices and tunings.

Cool Fire

Cal Tjader

Concord Records

This is a nice repackaging of the late West Coast vibraphonist’s early ‘80s live outings titled A Fuego Vivo and Good Vibes. Featuring conga master Poncho Sanchez and woodwind ace Gary Foster and others, Tjader’s cool and stylish fusion of the Afro-Cuban rhythms and jazz is radiantly personified throughout. Substantiated by sleek grooves, combined with edgy soloing endeavors by his band-mates, Tjader maintains the flow via his lithely executed lines and acute sense of rhythm. In addition, Foster enters the red zone on occasion, but it’s largely about the upbeat vibe and the musicians’ noticeable camaraderie. It’s rather obvious that the band was playing for the audience and not merely rummaging thru the songbook.

14 Songs By Randy Newman: Feels Like Home

Steve Klink


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