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Guitarist Mark O'Leary's plight is perhaps akin to one who seeks an eternal betterment of modern-improvised music, where styles and fertile ideas connect and provide nourishment for a fertile musical plane. Recorded in California with notables, bassist Steuart Leibig and drummer Alex Cline, the trio professes some down-home ruckus, while occasionally throttling back the momentum into interstellar space environs.
O'Leary opens the festivities with ambient acoustic guitar lines on "Tilt, as his associates subsequently up the ante with rolling and tumbling rhythmic patterns. But in other regions of sound and scope, the guitarist leads the charge with burning single-note flurries in unison with Leibig's pumping notes. It's as if passion and desire are vehemently expressed through their chosen tools of the trade.
The guitarist's crafty employment of volume control techniques is enhanced by some echo and reverb in spots. However, the preponderance if this affair is engineered upon rip-roaring dialogues, often segueing into various cosmic burnouts and maniacal frenzies. However, it's partly about checks and balances as the band varies the often linear rhythmic aspects with introspective musings. On the title track, they execute a brisk, free-bop groove, complete with Cline's blazing and rather madhouse pulse. And with "Headphase, the trio softens the overall impetus, sparked by O'Leary's ringing extended notes and Cline's textural use of bells.
Sure enough, Signs provides yet another glimpse of the leader's ceaseless penchant to develop, unite and interact with his band-mates of choice. It's one of O'Leary's finest outings to date...
Track Listing: Tilt; Falling; Skrakk; Signs; Want To Know A Secret; Bye For A While; Headphase.
Personnel: Mark O'Leary: guitar; Steuart Leibig: 6-string electric bass; Alex Cline: drums, percussion.
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.