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December 2005

Glenn Astarita By

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New York City-based trombonist Jacob Garchik works within a piano-drums rhythms section arrangement throughout these eight abstracts. It's a commingling of solid chops and open-ended dialogues, yet the artists also inject sentiment and a good-timey disposition. Unlike many of these explorative, compact and improvisation-heavy jazz outings, this group mixes it up rather effectively. At times, they turn up the heat by focusing on simple thematic forays or wind matters down with sullen interludes. Regardless, the trio aims to convey a bit of entertainment to coincide with its edgy formulations and free-spirited rendezvous.

Chaos Butterfly + Biggi Vinkeloe
Live at Studio Fabriken

ELD Records


This album was recorded live in a Swedish recording studio by the twosome known as "Chaos Butterfly. Dina Emerson sings lyric-less verse while using her laptop computer to generate strange effects. Camper Van Beethoven violinist/guitarist and computer practitioner Jonathan Segel employs split tones and acoustic-electric voicings. But it's guest artist Biggi Vinkeloe's sax work that offers a multidimensional fabric of sound during this avant-garde, electronics performance capped off with improvisational flurries. The trio's spacey and ethereal sound modeling techniques are to be commended. And it's a fairly seamless melding of acoustic and electronic frameworks that can appear to be either maddening or subdued. Ultimately, the artists provide a scenario that could spur notions of an uncivilized planet. It's fascinating and miles ahead of similar endeavors of this ilk.

Short Takes

Dave Stryker
Big City

Mel Bay Records


Guitarist Dave Stryker has been a mainstay in the jazz arena for several years, but only recently has been gaining the recognition he deserves. A thinking-man's guitarist with extraordinary chops, Stryker's medium-toned licks are lyrically penetrating, whether he's engaged in hard-bop motifs or sublime balladry. In effect, his craftsmanship is rooted within plot type developments, where storylines unfold in rapid progressions.

Eyal Maoz




Israeli guitarist Eyal Maoz pursues radical Jewish culture with a vengeance! Along with John Medeski's chunky B3 organ grooves, this quartet shreds traditional stylizations into tiny pieces. They go for the jugular with a broad-ranging palate of ideas. Loads of fun...

P.J. Perry
Time Flies (Tempus Fugit)

Justin Time


Newly issued project from legendary Canadian alto saxophonist P.J. Perry showcases the art of swing. Recorded live at a Canadian venue, the septet includes fabled trumpeter Bobby Shew, for a thoroughly impacting mainstream jazz setting. The band covers jazz standards with vigor and aplomb. No tricks or gimmicks here, but a forthright and irrefutably entertaining sequence of musical events.

The Claudia Quintet




The quintet's second date for Cuneiform Records offers additional credence to the band's distinctive game-plan. Clarinetist Chris Speed's lilting lines over-the-top provide flotation-like elements amid the ensemble's quaintly organized themes. The musicians delve into minimalist environs toward the second half of this program, which is an element that offers an alternating perspective.

Robert Fripp

Love Cannot Bear—Soundscapes: Live in the USA

Discipline Global Mobile


Guitar hero Robert Fripp's new Soundscapes effort is perhaps one of his strongest to date. He uses a vocoder in spots, and generates a bit of edginess in certain areas where he turns up his ax, while employing piercing, sustain and legato lines. But, as with his previous efforts, Fripp uses his pedals and gizmos to produce music that sparks existential environs via layered effects, loops and celestial insinuations.

Derek Bailey / Mick Beck / Paul Hession
Meanwhile, back in Sheffield

Discus Music


This live recording by master guitar improviser Derek Bailey with Mick Beck (bassoon) and Paul Hession (drums) is loaded with contrasts and rhythmically diverse articulations. It's available solely through mail order from Discus Music. Essential listening for Bailey's legion of admirers.

Wayne Peet Quartet

Live at Al's Bar



Recently issued live set recorded in 1997 at a Los Angeles music club is manned by organist Wayne Peet to coincide with guitarists Nels Cline and G.E. Stinson's wailing exchanges. Comparisons to the late drummer Tony Williams' groundbreaking Lifetime band are in order here. It's a balls-to-the-walls jamboree, despite the less than sterling audio qualities.

John Stevens Quartet

New Cool



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