Glenn Astarita - jazzreview.com - Your Jazz Music Connection - jazzreview.com - Your Jazz Music Connection http://www.jazzreview.com Mon, 22 May 2017 14:35:38 -0500 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb Hasler - Paeffgen - Berger http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/free-jazz-avante-garde-cd-reviews/hasler-paeffgen-berger.html http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/free-jazz-avante-garde-cd-reviews/hasler-paeffgen-berger.html Hasler - Paeffgen - Berger
Renowned vibraphonist and improviser Karl Berger often serves as the centralizing entity on this curiously interesting date. A multinational trio, the music is often patterned with sublime textures, ethereal subtleties, and methodical song-forms, occasionally grounded on succinct pulses and steadily moving waves of sound. Here, Berger is the elder statement via his historic alignments with the crème de la crème of modern jazz stylists and cutting-edge improvisers.

Renowned vibraphonist and improviser Karl Berger often serves as the centralizing entity on this curiously interesting date. A multinational trio, the music is often patterned with sublime textures, ethereal subtleties, and methodical song-forms, occasionally grounded on succinct pulses and steadily moving waves of sound. Here, Berger is the elder statement via his historic alignments with the crème de la crème of modern jazz stylists and cutting-edge improvisers.

Trumpeter and electronics ace Werner Hasler blurts out scratchy distortion-based, and perhaps intentionally disruptive EFX on "Lomallet," where initial responses may indicate that your stereo system has a bad connection. But on repeated spins, it may make sense amid an existential viewpoint, based on the cyclical mid-tempo pulse and oscillating current featuring Berger's colorific vibes over the top. Hence, the trio morphs a mechanized-like sound-sculpting medium into a study in supple contrasts. The electronics element may stand as a wrench-in-the-works type mindset, indicating flaws in a well laid out plan, offering terse abstracts and eerie developments.

Hasler's delicate trumpet lines and drummer Gilbert Paeffgen's nimbly flowing brushwork enact a continual pattern that is carved up, notched out, and contextually shaded along the seven-minute ride. But they finalize the piece on a whimper and move on to the next conquest, resulting in an album that straddles jazz-improvisation, the avant-garde spectrum and offbeat concepts. Hasler also injects bluesy intonations into his attack to complement an aggregation of understated surprises throughout the program. Off-kilter but at times uncannily attainable, the trio projects a distinct ideology throughout.

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morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (Glenn Astarita) Free Jazz / Avante Garde - CD Reviews Fri, 06 Apr 2012 00:33:44 -0500
The Tip of the Sword by Herwig - Beirach - DeJohnette http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/various-jazz-styles-cd-reviews/the-tip-of-the-sword-by-herwig-beirach-dejohnette.html http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/various-jazz-styles-cd-reviews/the-tip-of-the-sword-by-herwig-beirach-dejohnette.html The Tip of the Sword by Herwig - Beirach - DeJohnette
Three veritable jazz heavyweights align for a briskly moving and thoroughly modern program, steeped in galvanizing thematic encounters. Trombonist Conrad Herwig, heralded for his hip 'Latinizations' of jazz standards amid a progressive outline, exercises ample doses of pop and sizzle throughout many of these oscillating pieces. And the lack of a bassist engenders a musical climate that offers a loose, open-air foundation for improvisation, sparked by all-universe drummer Jack DeJohnette's sweeping rolls and polyrhythmic timekeeping.

Three veritable jazz heavyweights align for a briskly moving and thoroughly modern program, steeped in galvanizing thematic encounters. Trombonist Conrad Herwig, heralded for his hip 'Latinizations' of jazz standards amid a progressive outline, exercises ample doses of pop and sizzle throughout many of these oscillating pieces. And, the lack of a bassist engenders a musical climate that offers a loose, open-air foundation for improvisation, sparked by all-universe drummer Jack DeJohnette's sweeping rolls and polyrhythmic timekeeping.

Pianist Richie Beirach serves as a catalyst and colorist while handling the implied bass parts via lower-register chord voicings, evidenced on the oscillating opener, "Where the Tip of the Sword Settles." Featuring a semi-structured game-plan, the trio delves into balladry or goes off the charts during movements where Herwig and associates render a consortium of blitzing aerial assaults. Indeed, the majority of these works spawn a bustling framework, although on "The Void," the trio offers lucid imagery of a mysterious panorama, executed by Herwig's dark lines and Beirach's delicate touch. Moreover, they explore hallowed vistas sans a firm rhythmic component, where DeJohnette shades the proceedings via his textural cymbals hits.

"Inner Sincerity" is a composition featuring the drummer's complex metrics in concert with his groove-based solo nestled within an undulating current, topped off by the pianist's melodic phrasings. Here, the soloists' project an optimistic vibe. Ultimately, the band delves into an abundance of mood-evoking segments and intermittently veers off-center. Herwig is a force to be reckoned with by providing an aggregation of disparate angles and seething improvisational flurries. Hence, it's a top-shelf product that uncovers additional insights and pleasantries on additional listens.

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morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (Glenn Astarita) Various Jazz Styles - CD Reviews Tue, 03 Apr 2012 18:36:27 -0500
The Air is Different by Tomas Fujiwara & The Hook Up http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/progressive-cd-reviews/the-air-is-different-by-tomas-fujiwara-the-hook-up.html http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/progressive-cd-reviews/the-air-is-different-by-tomas-fujiwara-the-hook-up.html The Air is Different by Tomas Fujiwara & The Hook Up
The second recording by drummer Tomas Fujiwara & The Hook Up follows the heralded Actionspeak (2010, 482 Music), and continues upon a course, teeming with unanticipated shifts in strategy, but not executed in shock-therapy mode. With a superfine support system of revered improvisers, including guitarist Mary Halvorson who seems to be showing up everywhere these days, Fujiwara reaps the benefits of a distinctly fresh musical climate. With off-kilter patterns, cunning geometric architectures and sudden paradigm shifts, the band merges a search and conquer tactical component with an acutely balanced mix of structure and free-form dialogues.

The second recording by drummer Tomas Fujiwara & The Hook Up follows the heralded Actionspeak (2010, 482 Music), and continues upon a course, teeming with unanticipated shifts in strategy, but not executed in shock-therapy mode. With a superfine support system of revered improvisers, including guitarist Mary Halvorson who seems to be showing up everywhere these days, Fujiwara reaps the benefits of a distinctly fresh musical climate. With off-kilter patterns, cunning geometric architectures and sudden paradigm shifts, the band merges a search and conquer tactical component with an acutely balanced mix of structure and free-form dialogues.

As a drummer and leader, Fujiwara steers traffic via supple accents, crashing cymbals, and polyrhythmic fills while dropping a few bombs along the way. Regardless, it\'s a group-focused underpinning that yields the rewarding results. Set by imagery of social chaos, temperance and regimentation; spanning an abundance of offsetting time signatures, the hornists\' staggered pulses and peppery unison choruses also intimate a curvy perimeter.

The musicians smooth out the rough-hewn parts with a glistening sheen; an attribute that is not always the case within these semi-structured type programs. Brian Settles (tenor saxophone) and Jonathan Finlayson\'s (trumpet) bristling improvisations are clustered by a string of micro-themes, secured by Trevor Dunn\'s booming bass patterns. Hence, shifting plots interweave throughout the divergent track mix.

\"For Ours\" is a piece that highlights the band\'s emotive sensibilities and complex movements often accelerated by Settles\' ricocheting lines, segueing the arrangement into a cheery vibe. And on \"Smoke-Breathing Lights,\" Halvorson\'s trademark blend of odd-tunings, animated single note flurries and swerving notes ride atop a buoyant groove, engineered with ascension and edgy deconstruction metrics. Here, the drummer projects a broad undercurrent due to his swarming tom rolls, perpetuating an open-forum for the soloists\' expansive exchanges.

Fujiwara tenders a multidimensional game-plan that is not complacent in scope. Marked by undulating currents and spirited soloing jaunts, the album sustains interest from start-to-finish. He lays out a compelling framework, containing gobs of mind candy for the attentive listener.  (Official release date: May 1, 2012)

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morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (Glenn Astarita) Progressive - CD Reviews Thu, 29 Mar 2012 14:47:56 -0500
Edge Study by Bruce Friedman - Motoko Honda http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/free-jazz-avante-garde-cd-reviews/edge-study-by-bruce-friedman-motoko-honda.html http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/free-jazz-avante-garde-cd-reviews/edge-study-by-bruce-friedman-motoko-honda.html Edge Study by Bruce Friedman - Motoko Honda
Trumpeter Bruce Friedman lays out the rules of engagement for these improvisations by setting a limit for sonic resources "to just two elements, sustained pitches and silences." And for Motoko Honda's synthesizer work, "the rules are similar, with chords and timbre shifts allowable." It's an interesting conceptual approach, yet rather unwavering throughout the horizontal plane of ideas, encountered within the three duet pieces. With an air of minimalism surrounding the moving parts, Friedman cites Christian Wolff as an influence. Wolf was associated with avant-gardist John Cage and considered a pioneer of the 1960's expressionistic 'New York School.' He also penned…

Trumpeter Bruce Friedman lays out the rules of engagement for these improvisations by setting a limit for sonic resources "to just two elements, sustained pitches and silences." And for Motoko Honda's synthesizer work, "the rules are similar, with chords and timbre shifts allowable." It's an interesting conceptual approach, yet rather unwavering throughout the horizontal plane of ideas, encountered within the three duet pieces. With an air of minimalism surrounding the moving parts, Friedman cites Christian Wolff as an influence. Wolf was associated with avant-gardist John Cage and considered a pioneer of the 1960's expressionistic 'New York School.' He also penned the liners for this release.

For the most part, the duo shares a similar tonal plane that is somewhat meditative in scope amid slight variances of the musical architecture. Unhurried, and ever-so-subtle, the program offers a broad expanse. On "Amiss, Abyss, A Kiss," Friedman's extended notes ride above Honda's steady and droning synth sounds, sparking transcendental frameworks and gradual shifts in pitch. They paint a dark and ominous soundscape and often work within the same register. Here and throughout, the artists uncannily morph a free-form mindset with a structural approach in concert with the predetermined paradigm. Thus, sound-shaping, melody, and a steady stream of thought help pattern this album into a sublimely mind-bending experience, sans any excitable movements or cacophonous improvisational segments.

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morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (Glenn Astarita) Free Jazz / Avante Garde - CD Reviews Tue, 27 Mar 2012 13:29:24 -0500
Return from the Unknown by Rick Drumm and Fatty Necroses http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/fusion-cd-reviews/return-from-the-unknown-by-rick-drumm-and-fatty-necroses.html http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/fusion-cd-reviews/return-from-the-unknown-by-rick-drumm-and-fatty-necroses.html Return from the Unknown by Rick Drumm and Fatty Necroses
Business executive for D\\\'Addario & Company (strings) and drummer, the album moniker and band name emanates from Rick Drumm\\\'s survival and ordeal with non-Hodgkin\\\'s lymphoma. And 25% of all proceeds from the album will be donated to the \\\"Strike A Chord\\\" foundation: www.strikeachordforchildren.org. A largely upbeat album, featuring prominent jazz artists lending their wares, the program circles back to the infancy of jazz-fusion, performed with a contemporary sound and approach sans any overcooked technical gymnastics. As a drummer, Drumm focuses on leadership, textural slants and acutely placed dynamics. You won\\\'t hear Billy Cobham (Mahavishnu Orchestra) type polyrhythmic bombs as the…
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morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (Glenn Astarita) Fusion - CD Reviews Fri, 23 Mar 2012 23:29:20 -0500
Return from the Unknown by Rick Drumm and Fatty Necroses http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/fusion-cd-reviews/return-from-the-unknown-by-rick-drumm-and-fatty-necroses.html http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/fusion-cd-reviews/return-from-the-unknown-by-rick-drumm-and-fatty-necroses.html Return from the Unknown by Rick Drumm and Fatty Necroses
Business executive for D'Addario & Company (strings) and drummer, Rick Drumm equates the album moniker and band name to his survival and ordeal with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. And 25% of all proceeds from the album will be donated to the "Strike A Chord" foundation: www.strikeachordforchildren.org. A largely upbeat album, featuring prominent jazz artists lending their wares, the program circles back to the infancy of jazz-fusion, performed with a contemporary sound and approach sans any overcooked technical gymnastics.

Business executive for D'Addario & Company (strings) and drummer, Rick Drumm equates the album moniker and band name to his survival and ordeal with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. And 25% of all proceeds from the album will be donated to the "Strike A Chord" foundation: www.strikeachordforchildren.org. A largely upbeat album, featuring prominent jazz artists lending their wares, the program circles back to the infancy of jazz-fusion, performed with a contemporary sound and approach sans any overcooked technical gymnastics.

As a drummer, Drumm focuses on leadership, textural slants and acutely placed dynamics. You won't hear Billy Cobham (Mahavishnu Orchestra) type polyrhythmic bombs as the band fuses more of a streamlined jazz element into the picture, abetted by highs, lows, and groove-centric pieces. They throttle the flows and pitch amid high-impact solos by powerhouse saxophonist Frank Catalano, for example. With the formidable dual guitar attack of Corey Christiansen and Fred Hamilton to complement the three-man horn section, the production offers a multifarious slant on the fusion genre, containing warmth, climactic opuses, and in-the-pocket cadences.

Drumm lays down a firm rock pulse during "Indi Funk," to set the stage for the guitarists' distortion tinged guitar parts and some blustery trombone lines by Mike Brumbaugh, segueing to the hornists' tightknit unison choruses, shaped with an Indo-funk topping. No doubt, the musicians project a feel-good vibe, yet get down and dirty on the towering guitar-heavy blues piece "Not Whatever." However, on "Detours," Axel Tosca Laugart imparts a Miles Davis fusion era electric keyboard sound, generating memories of either Chick Corea or Joe Zawinul's darting notes, touched with a rough-hewn shade of darkness.

The musicians receive copious soloing opportunities, including the snaky "Pulled Pork Sandwich," where Memphis style horns and a peppery New Orleans shuffle beat carve a path for Catalano's popping lines and Pete Grimaldi's expressive muted –trumpet voicings. It all culminates in an unfettered sense of optimism. And they close it out on a somber note with the drifting ballad "Return."

Drumm doesn't reinvent the wheel. More importantly, he intimates a holistic view of the jazz-fusion genre with a solid track mix that sustains interest, partly due to the artists' emphatic soloing spots, alternating rhythmic currents, and divergent compositional approach. Drumm also utilizes the group-centric methodology to the utmost degree, as everyone gets their day in the sun during the buoyantly moving parts.

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morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (Glenn Astarita) Fusion - CD Reviews Sat, 24 Mar 2012 00:34:18 -0500
Snakeoil by Tim Berne http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/free-jazz-avante-garde-cd-reviews/gastaritacomcastnet.html http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/free-jazz-avante-garde-cd-reviews/gastaritacomcastnet.html Snakeoil by Tim Berne
Since the 1980s recordings Fulton Street Maul and Sanctified Dreams for mainstream Columbia Records, New York City alto saxophonist Tim Berne has carved an iconic career as a non-conforming pioneer of the 'new' jazz. A prominent exponent of New York City's trailblazing downtown scene, Berne's numerous alliances, high-impact solo outings and legendary Bloodcount band, featuring fellow woodwind ace Chris Speed, paint a picture of innovation. His work with French guitar stylist Marc Ducret and global presence, consisting of alliances with young upstarts, and proven improvising warriors loom as a continuing saga paralleling his incessant creative sparks.

Since the 1980s recordings Fulton Street Maul and Sanctified Dreams for mainstream Columbia Records, New York City alto saxophonist Tim Berne has carved an iconic career as a non-conforming pioneer of the 'new' jazz. A prominent exponent of New York City's trailblazing downtown scene, Berne's numerous alliances, high-impact solo outings and legendary Bloodcount band, featuring fellow woodwind ace Chris Speed, paint a picture of innovation. His work with French guitar stylist Marc Ducret and global presence, consisting of alliances with young upstarts, and proven improvising warriors loom as a continuing saga paralleling his incessant creative sparks.

With Berne's first studio outing in eight years, he opts for a bass-less quartet foundation that intimates a pristine soundscape, rooted in an open-forum with a standard rhythm section. Here, clarinetist Oscar Noriega blossoms as a strong foil, where peaceful environs often ascend into sprawling movements divided between a layered and semi-structured climate, often devised with linear progressions and hearty improvisational sequences.

The quartet's multidimensional fabrics present a throng of sterling contrasts, steeped in quirky horns deviations and offbeat unison notes, sparked by Berne and Noriega's popping lines and sinewy choruses. These attributes come to the forefront on "Scanners" for example, as the band meticulously climbs towards a zenith via thorny motifs, abetted by the frontline's cunning counter-maneuvers and offsetting tradeoffs. Coupled with free expressionism and Matt Mitchell's trickling piano voicings; drummer Ches Smith's polyrhythmic rolls and Noriega's yearning lines during the bridge establish a framework that intimates a spiritual accounting of sorts.

"Yield," is a piece that appropriately frames an ominous undercurrent as the hornists' succinct theme-building forays are subliminally steered by Mitchell's delicate chord clusters and dainty single note runs. Disparity and multiple viewpoints might infer that the listener should proceed with caution, partly due to Berne's soul-stirring breakouts, tinted with a search and conquer modus operandi as he drives it all home in customary fashion.

Many of Berne's trademark theme-construction tactics remain intact. With deceptive and snaky developments he often zooms in for the kill, but also tenders a soft side within the buoyantly moving parts. Snakeoil offers a kaleidoscopic portraiture where lucid imagery, spanning temperance and a variety of thought-provoking persuasions -- unified with ravaging assaults -- attain an uncanny equilibrium. And the broad sound-sculptures in concert with ECM Records' fabled sound engineering aesthetic presents supplementary rewards.

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morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (Glenn Astarita) Free Jazz / Avante Garde - CD Reviews Fri, 23 Mar 2012 06:03:26 -0500
Transatlantic Quartet Live in Basel by Pete Robbins http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/straight-ahead-classic-cd-reviews/transatlantic-quartet-live-in-basel-by-pete-robbins.html http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/straight-ahead-classic-cd-reviews/transatlantic-quartet-live-in-basel-by-pete-robbins.html Transatlantic Quartet Live in Basel by Pete Robbins
Versatile alto saxophonist Pete Robbins enjoys recording his ensembles within the live format. His sixth album as a leader also represents his third consecutive live recording, influenced by his residence and subsequent visits to Copenhagen. Moreover, his European band aka the Transatlantic Quartet, imparts the open-air architectures often evidenced by the Scandinavian progressive-jazz contingents amid slight inferences to the breadth and lightness of folk music. However, Robbins' previous outings lean more towards the high-octane strata, including knotty funk grooves and tricky time signatures. And he's a superb technician, possessing a fertile imagination.

Versatile alto saxophonist Pete Robbins enjoys recording his ensembles within the live format.  His sixth album as a leader also represents his third consecutive live recording, influenced by his residence and subsequent visits to Copenhagen.  Moreover, his European band aka the Transatlantic Quartet, imparts the open-air architectures often evidenced by the Scandinavian progressive-jazz contingents amid slight inferences to the breadth and lightness of folk music.  However, Robbins' previous outings lean more towards the high-octane strata, including knotty funk grooves and tricky time signatures. And he's a superb technician, possessing a fertile imagination.

Not quite as impacting as his previous efforts, Robbins propagates the live aesthetic during this performance at a club in Basel, Switzerland.  Many of these pieces contain gradually climactic theme-building exercises with several nicely articulated dynamics.  For most part, these pieces do not offer memorably melodic hooks, but the frontline embeds mini-themes into the choruses, designed with largely, sinuous improvisational developments.

With burgeoning motifs and a vast plane of ideas, Robbins elicits remembrances of alto great Paul Desmond on the windswept piece "There There."  Featuring drummer Kevin Brow's soft, rolling-toms and Simon Jermyn's nimble bass lines, the band generates temperate atmospherics, capped off by Mikkel Ploug's somewhat haunting guitar voicings.  But they pump it up on "Inkhead," as the leader builds tension via his linear phrasings, directing the ensemble into a steady ascension.

The musicians add some pop and sizzle with effervescent bop lines atop a 4/4 pulse during "Hoi Polloi." Abetted by snaking movements, animated solo spots and a few brief pauses, the artists' open up the floor and stretch their wares.  Ultimately, the band doesn't get bogged down with technical gymnastics or speed-demon like flurries.  It's more of a concentrated focus built on layers and astutely arranged compositions that form the undertow for the variable plots.

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morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (Glenn Astarita) Straight-Ahead - CD Reviews Sat, 10 Mar 2012 18:09:38 -0600
Bassless Trios: Duality by Samo Salamon http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/free-jazz-avante-garde-cd-reviews/bassless-trios-duality-by-samo-salamon.html http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/free-jazz-avante-garde-cd-reviews/bassless-trios-duality-by-samo-salamon.html Bassless Trios: Duality by Samo Salamon
One of the more exciting and inventive improvising artists, Slovenian guitarist Samo Salamon's stylistic modus operandi, coupled with massive chops has earned him prominence within global, progressive-jazz circles. He seems comfortable with the flexibility of smaller ensembles, highlighted here with the dual bass-less trio formats, performing with like-minded and revered US and European musicians.

One of the more exciting and inventive improvising artists, Slovenian guitarist Samo Salamon's stylistic modus operandi, coupled with massive chops has earned him prominence within global, progressive-jazz circles. He seems comfortable with the flexibility of smaller ensembles, highlighted here with the dual bass-less trio formats, performing with like-minded and revered US and European musicians.

The first (US) set features alto saxophonist Tim Berne and drummer Tom Rainey. Here, the lack of a bassist instills an open forum, although Salamon does work the lower registers to support Berne at various intervals. With a pristine trio soundscape, the soloists engage in zinging dialogues and navigate through odd-metered unison choruses as Rainey dances and darts across the kit while also filling in the gaps.

The guitarist's animated spurts and intricately designed voicings amid some teaser-like breakouts nicely complement Berne's linear and yearning notes. They lash out atop undulating flows with breakneck phrasings and generate a staggered bop groove on the zesty, "Flying Potatoes." Moreover, Salamon imparts a twangy sound with twirling chord clusters, serving as a faint ostinato riff for Berne and Rainey.

Tracks 5-11 comprises multi-woodwind ace Achille Succi and first-call session drummer Roberto Dani offering a multihued contrast to the US session via concentrated flows and a broader tonal palate, largely due to Succi's bass clarinet work. However, the leader executes a rock riff on "Roofs in the City," where Succi's resonating alto sax choruses culminate into an ominous thematic climate, as the duo recomposes the primary melody. Nonetheless, there's no shortage of ideas during the vast improvisational segments, yet the band tones it down on the breezy and harmonically attractive piece, "Kei's Garden.

Duality is encapsulated by a venture-seeking aura. The musicians' articulations are staged with searching qualities as they toggle between introspection and aggression. Like a fine art piece, the music projects a surfeit of intriguing propositions and diametric angles. Indeed, a top-shelf product that beckons repeated listens.

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morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (Glenn Astarita) Free Jazz / Avante Garde - CD Reviews Fri, 09 Mar 2012 15:24:40 -0600
Bani Ahead by Slivovitz http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/progressive-cd-reviews/bani-ahead-by-slivovitz.html http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/progressive-cd-reviews/bani-ahead-by-slivovitz.html Bani Ahead by Slivovitz
The Italian band names itself after a popular plum brandy, to correlate the refined or perhaps slick components that augment its broad repertoire. With its third album, the artists' continue on a path that integrates memorable storylines within a homogeneous old school/new school line of attack, where Eastern and Western folk melodies, radiant prog-rock, and nods to Jean Luc Ponty era fusion come to mind. Sporting a signature sound, featuring horns, violin, and harmonica coalescing with knotty guitar-driven time signatures, the musicians' fashion a mark of authority that has earned them accolades among critics and prog aficionados.

The Italian band names itself after a popular plum brandy, to correlate the refined or perhaps slick components that augment its broad repertoire.   With its third album, the artists' continue on a path that integrates memorable storylines within a homogeneous old school/new school line of attack, where Eastern and Western folk melodies, radiant prog-rock, and nods to Jean Luc Ponty era fusion come to mind.   Sporting a signature sound, featuring horns, violin, and harmonica coalescing with knotty guitar-driven time signatures, the musicians' fashion a mark of authority that has earned them accolades among critics and prog aficionados.

Keenly placed technical calisthenics raise the bar, as the band seamlessly incorporates sprightly harmonic content into jazzy frameworks, often contrasting folk-isms and bluesy intonations. It all culminates in a diverse bag of tricks and the ensemble's unbounded resourcefulness.  And they throttle the flows on most pieces, often designed as tightly organized mini-suites.

On "02-09," jazzy horns, and Riccardo Villari's soaring staccato lines morph into a roots-driven bridge section amid linear progressions and changeable pulses.  Here, the band's ascension is enamored by knotty unison breakouts, brimming with a power-packed assault, and emphasized by Marcello Giannini's heavy rock guitar voicings as they conclude the chain of events on a faint whisper.  The ensemble also intertwines tender moments, evidenced during "Bani Ahead," featuring Pietro Santangelo's warm sax lines and drifting melodies, contrasted by Derek Di Perri's radiant harmonica phrasings.  But they also delve into some decomposition modalities and a brisk shuffle groove, topped off by trumpeter Ciro Riccardi's dreamy notes.

No doubt, the artists put a lot of thought into the material and arrangements via their cunning methodologies and impeccable technical gifts.  Slivovitz is most assuredly a unique entity and projects a horde of nouveau concepts, armed with a stylish line of attack.  They pack a mighty punch and separate themselves from the throngs of ho hum prog bands that are content to retread the numerous paths previously taken.

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morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (Glenn Astarita) Progressive - CD Reviews Thu, 08 Mar 2012 15:00:31 -0600