Articles by Glenn Astarita

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 ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jim Black: Malamute

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Shortly after breaking into the progressive jazz scene in the 1990s via his work with saxophonist Tim Berne's Bloodcount, trumpeter Dave Douglas's ensembles, Pachora and other fruitful ventures, drummer Jim Black's signature stylistic approach to the kit ignited much interest. Simply stated, he does wonders with a basic 5-piece drum-set amid his quirky off-beats and uncanny sense of time while often staying on top of a given pulse and then some, also evident while leading his AlasNoAxis band.

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 ...


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