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Articles by Glenn Astarita

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Steve Swell - Gebhard Ullmann - Fred Lonberg-Holm - Michael Zerang: The Chicago Plan

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The Chicago Plan equates to a strategic plan, evidenced by these magnetic and invigorating works by reedman Gebhard Ullmann (Berlin), trombonist Steve Swell (New York City) and Chicagoans, drummer Michael Zerang and cellist / electronics-ace Fred Lonberg-Holm. Recorded in Chicago, the musicians were seemingly immersed in the Windy City's cutting- edge jazz and improvisational forces that may have hovered over the studio like a guiding spirit. Here, some of the best and brightest live up to, or perhaps ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Shane Parish: Undertaker Please Drive Slow

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Guitarist Shane Parish has amassed a strong following due to his affiliation with the ultra-progressive band Ahleuchatistas, known for its impossibly complex unison song-forms, neo-psyche, fuzoid-metal or as his website states: ..."almost like Fugazi meets Captain Beefheart." These days Parish and percussionist Ryan Oslance are performing under the Aleuchatistas moniker as a duo, while dishing out avant-rock sonic-scapes that touch upon numerous genres and then some. Besides the guitarist's other collaborations that usually push the proverbial envelope, he puts the ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Joe Henderson: Mirror, Mirror

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As anticipated, Germany-based MPS' famed audio engineering expertise--besides its tenure as a prominent jazz record label-- lives up to expectations with a superb remastering effort of the 1980 LP led by tenor sax great John Henderson and a band featuring jazz giants, pianist Chick Corea, bassist Ron Carter and drummer, Billy Higgins. The packaging includes the original liners and a photo of the original master tape box. The 180-gram vinyl offering boasts a detailed soundstage, but more importantly ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Crystal Moth: Crystal Moth

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This London-based quintet started as a duo with drummer Paul May and percussionist Patrick Dawes, but eventually expanded into a quartet due to a series of meetings and encounters among additional musicians. Otherwise, May and keyboardist Carolyn Hume performed as a duo and released several intriguing minimalistic, melodic, jazz-improvisation framed outings for the largely, experimental and long-running UK record label, Leo Records. The respective musicians' resumes are comprised of diverse backgrounds, which makes sense after listening to the ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Richard Pinhas - Barry Cleveland: Mu

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French guitarist and electronics ace Richard Pinhas set high standards for electronic rock with the advent of Heldon back in 1974. But his voluminous discography as a solo artist and collaborator surges onward with two concurrent 2016 releases for Cuneiform Records: Process and Reality with drummer Tatsuya Yoshida and noise electronics whiz Masami Akita aka Merzbow, and this quartet date Mu, co-led with guitarist, technologist, Barry Cleveland. The frontline reaps the benefits of having bass legend Michael Manring ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Rent Romus' Life's Blood Ensemble: Rising Colossus

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Edgetone Records sent the LP edition of this album that is also available on CD and digital format. Yet I still maintain that most jazz albums are better served via full-bodied analogue productions often equating to a studio-in-your-room experience, coupled with a first-rate turntable and audiophile trimmings that may enhance the listening experience. San Francisco new-jazz saxophonist Rent Romus leads his Life's Blood Ensemble --which has been an ongoing coalition comprised of alternating personnel --through a program framed ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Van der Graaf Generator: Do Not Disturb

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You can't have a serious conversation about the infancy of progressive rock without citing Van der Graff Generator (VdGG) as one of the genre's driving forces amid its influence back in the '70s and beyond. They may not have been as widely known or sold as many records as King Crimson, Yes or Emerson, Lake & Palmer, but VdGG's singular imprint stands tall amongst the upper echelon of bands that sparked a re-imagination of the tried and true, namely conventional ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Alessio Forlani: Alameda Gardens

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After a few spins, imagery of Florence, Italy guitarist Alessio Forlani playing a supercharged Ferrari with strings came to mind. And while there isn't a surfeit of background information on the Internet, it appears that he's also heavily involved with studio processes and production activities. Here, the guitarist kindles similarities to longtime rock guitar hero Joe Satriani's solo career, teeming with thrusting backbeats and climactic overtures, yet Forlani spices the festivities --or ups the ante --with shrewdly placed EFX, multihued ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Barclay James Harvest: Everyone Is Everyone Else

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During the advent of progressive rock in the late 1960s through the 70s, bands like ELP, King Crimson and Yes were snagging most of the headlines while others enjoyed limited success or traversed the proverbial roller coaster ride with fleeting moments of fame and recognition. Thus, Barclay James Harvest was a solid entity, tracing its origins back to the 60s amid ensuing personnel changes and subsets of the core unit, surging into the early 2000s. However, Everyone is Everyone Else ...


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