Articles by Glenn Astarita

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Miles Okazaki: Trickster

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Guitarist Miles Okazaki (Steve Coleman, Dan Weiss) is a meticulous artist and visionary partly due to his thorny and geometrically inclined theme-building practices. With ECM recording artist Craig Taborn sharing the frontline, the guitarist often makes complex storylines sound effortless by design, paralleled by the quartet's symmetrical pulses and deterministic gait. The band also gels to odd-metered bump and grind motifs and linear progressions amid succinctly stated unison lines. According to Okazaki, “The Calendar" ..." is a song ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Miroslav Vitous: Ziljabu Nights - Live at Theater Gutersloh

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This live album celebrates the 8th edition of the German record label's European Jazz Legends series, culminating in a book to be published in 2018. And each album is finalized with an interview track. So, it would make sense that eminent Czech bassist and co-founder of Weather Report, Miroslav Vitous would be included in the progression of this series. Other than drummer Roberto Gatto, the quintet comprises the same personnel who appeared on the successful Music of Weather Report (ECM, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Lisa Mezzacappa: avantNOIR

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The underlying story for this album by West Coast bassist, composer and improviser, Lisa Mezzacappa emanates from her fascination with Paul Auster's New York Trilogy, Dashiell Hammett's crime stories and similar literary works. Hence, the program casts a visual of nighttime in an intimidating metropolis. Toss in several progressive jazz motifs that parallel an action-packed detective thriller or several instances of zany comedic inferences and you have an album that lives by a platform of diversity amid a host of ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Reflections in Cosmo: Reflections in Cosmo

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Comparisons to Bill Laswell's Last Exit band with guitarist Sonny Sharrock are noted on the record label's website along with the quartet billed as purveyors of Skronk and free jazz. Add a few semblances of experimental prog-metal and jazz rock into the mix and you should have a good reference point for what this Norwegian band is all about. Moreover, saxophonist Kjetil Moster has gained prominence as a leader while his band-mates emanate from various well-known prog rock outfits and ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Geir Sundstol: Langen ro

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Indeed, there are serene, drifting and stunning passages on this album by longtime Norwegian session musician Geir Sundstol, who after twenty-something years in the business releases only his second solo album, following up Furulund (Hubro, 2015). The accompanying marketing material cites Sundstol as a guitarist and instrument collector, although the CD jacket only lists the musicians, sans the instruments they play, other than what is disclosed on the press kit and noted at the bottom of this review. No doubt, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Dr. Mint: Voices in the Void

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Dr. Mint includes prominent affiliates of the West Coast progressive jazz and improvisational scenes, Daniel Rosenboom (trumpet), Gavin Templeton (saxophones) and Alexander Noice (electric guitar) with like-minded East Coast members, Sam Minaie (bass) and Caleb Dolister (drums). Here, the quartet presents a wow factor on its fifth release. No doubt, they're armed and dangerous via these hyper-mode jazz rock works, spiced with Noice's killer fuzoid riffs and the hornists' no holds-barred soloing ventures. “Kingdom In The Middle" ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Rodrigo Amado's Motion Trio: Desire & Freedom

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Portuguese saxophonist Rodrigo Amado's mark of distinction is generally centered on his assertive approaches to experimentation within numerous offshoots and slants of the jazz vernacular. He's become a major player on the Euro progressive jazz scene amid sessions with American free-thinking acolytes, trombonist Jeb Bishop, bassist John Hebert, trumpeter Dennis Gonzalez and many others of note. Here, Amado performs with his fellow countrymen for a blossoming asymmetrical affair, firmly rooted in a spirited free-form jaunt, teeming with buoyant flows and ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Gong: Rejoice! I'm Dead!

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Vocalist, guitarist and composer, Daevid Allen was perhaps progressive rock's favorite hippie, and in the 1960s co-founded pivotal and revered Euro outfits, Gong and Soft Machine. Since the late 60s, Allen embarked on a solo career and led various psych-rock ensembles amid resurgences of Gong, which is an entity that sports a manifold legacy, spanning disparate stylistic approaches. Up until his death from cancer in 2015 Allen was all over the map via his cosmic explorations and collaborations with like-minded ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Motif: My Head is Listening

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This Scandinavian band lives by its moniker. Indeed, most of these works are framed on a sequence of primary motifs, mini- motifs and sub-motifs, interspersed with knockdown, drag-out cadenzas that span free jazz, semi-free jazz, modern jazz and so on. At times this collective seems to thrive on nervous energy amid a surfeit of highs, lows and briskly executed reverse- engineering parameters. They go from one extreme to another, whether it's dainty horns and piano etudes to moments of quietude ...


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