Vlatko: Subjective Experience In A Commercial Free Zone

Glenn Astarita BY

Sign in to view read count
Vlatko: Subjective Experience In A Commercial Free Zone
West Coast purveyor of novel jazz concepts, trombonist and shrewd improviser, Michael Vlatkovich skirts the perimeters of expressionistic jazz rock and most all things jazz related, featuring electric guitarist Tom McNalley's impressive, quirky off-kilter voicings and stinging expeditions. It's a production that's framed on the outside schema, as the leader's compositions present a brooding and flourishing set of circumstances, built upon layers, abstractions, and the requisite improvisational encounters.

The lengthy album title duly implies that Vlatkovich is blending a free form improv mindset into works that are structured and attainable. Hence, we get the best of both jazz worlds. The program is modeled with asymmetrical rhythms, swaying motifs and simmering ascents. Otherwise, McNally is a strong foil for the leader. On "In The Interest of Only Those Concerned," he comps with breezy chord clusters while adding a rather polite overtone, as the quartet eventually reformulates the piece, decorated with drummer John "Vatos" Hernandez' Latin overlays. However, the guitarists turns up the heat, armed with a foreboding search and conquer solo spot, followed by bassist Dominic Genova's exploratory lines.

Vlatkovich tempers the frothy proceedings down a few notches on the ballad, "If Only Maybe Were a Probability," with his vividly soulful lines, supported by the band's warm accompaniment, but" Saint Something or Our Lady of Whatever" gels to an armada of mid-tempo bop phrasings that are deconstructed during the bridge section, where the guitarist's animated and penetrating solo casts a sense of despair. But Vlatkovich flips the scenario into a heated and swarming vibe via his blustery, hardboiled attack. It's an engrossing session that ages well, as slight revelations uncannily crop up on additional spins.

Track Listing

Motely Mountebanks; In the Interest of Only Those Concerned STOP; Strodaad; Sometimes Always; If Only Maybe Were a Probability; Knowers Don't Know So Guessers Guess; Saint Something or Our Lady of Whatever; Undoug Fug = -(doug unfug).


Michael Vlatkovich: trombone, compositions; Tom McNalley electric guitar; Dominic Genova: electric bass; John "Vatos" Hernandez drums, percussion.

Album information

Title: Subjective Experience In A Commercial Free Zone | Year Released: 2015 | Record Label: pfMentum

Post a comment about this album


View events near Los Angeles
Jazz Near Los Angeles
Events Guide | Venue Guide | Local Businesses | More...

Shop Amazon


Code of Being
James Brandon Lewis Quartet
Beyond Here
Beth McKenna
Twelve Bass Tunes
Hernâni Faustino
Matthew Shipp
Monsters' Impromptu
Lee Heerspink
A Song of Hope
Eric Wyatt


Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.