Glenn Astarita

Glenn Astarita

Creativity exudes through any musical genre. And in the free or semi-structured realm of jazz, the tried and true can be beaten into submission, often leading to a ho hum listening experience. Aimless cacophony and uninteresting dialogues are first-offender elements within these formats. However, lesser-known artists such as Italian saxophonist Biagio Coppa keenly realize that ingenuity and vigor are recipes for the betterment or perhaps, advancement of music through the artistic looking glass. With an estimable support system, the saxophonist injects a complex, yet personalized series of propositions throughout this first-class release.


Ant-Bee (Billy James) is a multi-instrumentalist and producer who is often revered for his forays into early mechanisms of progressive-pop and rock. Known for cutting-edge productions, featuring members of the Mothers of Invention, Captain Beefheart's Magic Band and Alice Copper's ensembles, Ant-Bee's first album since the 1997 release Lunar Music, depicts an ingenious mind on the loose. Hence, Electronic Church Muzik takes spirituality past the boundaries of common ideologies via nods to early psychedelic music and offbeat sidebars that yield rewarding results, spanning an abundance of opposing angles, unanticipated detours, witty stylizations and harmonious theme-building jaunts.


After performing with modern day pioneers and revered mainstream jazz artists, vibist Chris Dingman steps out with a fascinating and irrefutably, enlivening debut solo release. Framed upon his personal life amid the highs and lows spanning the past decade, Dingman parallels the emotive element during these seamlessly engineered works that interweave into a persuasive narrative.


Tributes have become staples of the jazz industry. On this 2011 effort, laudable Italian pianist Roberto Magris pays homage to late, great hard-bop trumpeter Lee Morgan who died from a gunshot wound in 1972 at New York City's Slugs jazz venue. The trumpeter's stylistic fusion of R&B and groove-oriented patterns set his craft apart from many peers, in addition to his fluidly melodic phrasings and largely memorable compositions. Here, Magris leads a young band, featuring renowned jazz drummer, Albert "Tootie" Heath (Heath Brothers).


Swiss drummer Lucas Niggli invites legendary British bassist Barry Guy to lend his monstrous chops on Polisation. Sure enough, this unit seldom fails to impart numerous surprises into multidimensional environs, incited by the leader's fusion of experimental and symmetrically designed architectures. Big Zoom sports a big sound, yet desensitizes its arsenal with soft-to-the-touch dialogues, interspersed throughout various ebbs and flows.


With its 20th album, this Chicago-based outfit continues to abide by a multitasking line of attack while spreading good karma throughout the broad plane of progressive-rock idioms.  Hence, the group's charismatic persona and clever arrangements imprint a symbol of authenticity.

White Hills' second album for Thrill Jockey records is in part, based on corporate misgivings and an insipid quality of life in America.  Here, the musicians generate space-rock, modern psychedlia and noise music to shape a rather punishing sequence of events.  And from the noise or volume perspective, these gents would give vintage Black Sabbath a run for the money.

Founder of the seminal progressive-rock band King Crimson, guitarist Robert Fripp employs his legendary Frippertronics effects with formidable saxophonist Theo Travis on this resonating live release culled from a performance at the Coventry Cathedral in the U.K.  Travis’ work with the Soft Machine Legacy instills a deep-rooted sense of British progressive-rock colonialism while teaming with the fabled and undeniably influential guitarist.  And his escalating stature within jazz and rock vistas has served him well amid numerous first-call session gigs and solo endeavors.  Here, the duo parlays a rather sanctified realm of musical notions.

The story keeps unfolding for this fabled trio that released its first outing in 1978.  With rest stops along the way, the musicians' synergy remains as a source of amazement, coupled with their perpetual creative sparks that sculpt a route embedded with fresh concepts and supreme musicianship. 

A true metamorphosis in every sense, the Italian musicians, including American avant-garde strings performer Mat Maneri, subliminally metabolize various genres into an exceedingly persuasive string of events.  It's a free-form gala that also relies on structure and a group-focused sense of democracy.