Articles by Glenn Astarita

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Cheer-Accident: Putting Off Death

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This Chicago-based prog rock unit incorporates seamless genre-hopping movements on its 18th album and third for Cuneiform Records. Clocking in at a little over 38-minutes, the musicians provide upper-tier compositions, sans any hint of filler material as opposed to cramming the maximum allowable bits and bytes into the standard CD limitations. Thankfully, each piece stands on its own via a kaleidoscopic perspective, where qualitative content serves as the nucleus of the artists' collective vision. From a pure, comparative ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Bubblemath: Edit Peptide

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Edit Peptide is the follow-up to Minnesota-based Bubllemath's Such Fine Particles Of The Universe (Sounds Reasonable, 2002); hence, a 15-year gap purportedly due to the customary anomalies and distractions of life. But the musicians have come back with a raging vengeance via this excitable album, underscored by the prevailing math-rock component, leading to high-impact works tinted with humor and madcap diversions. At times, the group revives the spirit of Frank Zappa amidst these cross-genre enactments, spanning classic prog rock, post-punk...or, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Kanno - Poll - Pett - Shorr - MacDonald: Free Radicals

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Here we have acoustic-electric instantaneous compositions --largely about nature --that defy the norms. Recorded live at a venue in Scotland the respective musicians are artistic, music and improvising professors from the Estonian Academy of Music and Theater and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. And after hearing this album, I'd imagine the professors bring a lot to the table via their teachings. The live experience must have been a gas, but also quite freaky amid the polytonal sound swashes ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Angelica Sanchez: Float The Edge

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Here, New York City-based pianist Angelica Sanchez employs the herculean rhythm section of Michael Formanek (bass) and Tyshawn Sorey (drums) and is the follow-up to her duet outing with renowned trumpeter, composer Wadada Leo Smith, Twine Forest (Clean Feed, 2014). Sanchez can be quite cerebral and is irrefutably focused while also showing a penchant for injecting harmonious motifs into her body of work. For the most part, she seldom takes the band into extended free-form jaunts while also ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Amok Amor: We Know Not What We Do

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When these gents run amok it's largely controlled, spiced with massive quantities of mind-bending narratives, crazily executed pulses and split-second paradigm shifts. You can also think of a welterweight boxer landing rapid flurries, stinging uppercuts and roundhouse knockout blows as they punch out these works with the greatest of ease, shaded with ominous intentions. Formerly a Germany-based trio known as Starlight, American trumpeter Peter Evans (Mostly Other People Do The Killing) adds his prominent technical faculties and astute ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Daunik Lazro: Garden(s)

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This progressive French trio features musicians who have respectively been at the forefront of Euro improvisational circles, partaking in numerous small and large ensemble formats. The synergy and inventive concepts many of us would anticipate is wholly inherent here, as the band covers Duke Ellington, Albert Ayler and John Coltrane bordering three group composed pieces “Garden(s) 1 through 3" and trumpeter Jean-Luc Cappozzo's “Joy Spirit." Cappozzo brings Ellington's “Sophisticated Lady" to the wild side via an opening duet ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

The Beat Freaks: Leon

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Based in Poland, guitarist MichaƂ Starkiewicz founded this band in 2014, followed by successful concert tours and of course, this album that presents a modicum of youthful vim and vigor, largely within the progressive jazz schema amid a few slight nods to jazz fusion. Moreover, the musicians dedicate the album to a mythical figure Leon Kokaiewicz, although the story behind these motivations briefly outlined in the album notes are not clear to me. The quartet's buoyant and spunky ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Trio Heinz Herbert: The Willisau Concert

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Youthful ingenuity and meritorious technical aspects mark this Swiss trio's cunning live release at a Willisau venue, enhanced by a crystalline soundstage that spawns great depth amid the highs and lows. Moreover, their ability to multitask while generating a polytonal consortium of EFX-based treatments, while effortlessly sliding across numerous genres makes for a irrefutably compelling listen. From the onset of the 18-minute opener “Granulare Liebe / LEI," it became clear that the trio was meticulously assembling a piece ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Shane Theriot: Still Motion

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Hailing from jny: New Orleans, guitarist and producer Shane Theriot is a solo artist and upper-echelon session ace amid his stints with Hall & Oates, Ben Folds, and the Neville Brothers as the list goes on. Indeed, he has that soul-funk New Orleans vibe going on. But Theriot's far-ranging capabilities include jazz and blues, yet more importantly, he has that very special touch and feel that morphs into his musical persona, regardless of genre. On this outing, he assembles a ...


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