Saxophonist and horn arranger Freddy Vigdor has been a member of the Average White Band for the last decade. He has performed with the band around the globe at festivals, clubs, on television and radio programs while, as a prolific composer, his work has been recorded by the likes of Grover Washington, Jr., Bob Baldwin, Marion Meadows, and of course AWB.
The debut album for Housecore Records by this modern psychedelic outfit summons the late 1960's hippie culture, shaded by a modern glean, and strikes a harmonious chord amid the album cover art that at first glance may signify a Sci-Fi western featuring zombies as the outlaws. Maybe an old wine in new bottles thing, but the ensemble's rewarding factors lie within memorable comps. With a touch of progressive-rock amid haunting lyricism, the studio engineering processes embed or perhaps simulate a purist, analog-like soundstage. Featuring psychedelic and hard-rock guitar parts, climactic movements, and a touch of antiquity, the band also embraces the pop-rock spectrum.
Analyzing the album - the construction of the arranges, the freschness of material, the sounds of the tunes, the power and the intensity of playing the tracks, the rhythmically intense - it has an immensely individual touch.
Like his idol, the late Joe Zawinul, keyboardist Art 'Spike' Schloemer seeks to erase whatever perceived lines lie between jazz, rock, funk and world music. On his new TransFUSION CD, Schloemer arrives well- armed for the task by enlisting some of jazz/fusion's top open-minded artists: guitarist Scott Henderson, saxophonist Bob Franceschini, bassists Bunny Brunel and Hadrien Feraud, and drummers Dennis Chambers and Kirk Covington.
The opening track, "Concussion," shows additional Schloemer influences from the classic fusion era of the '70s. The piece's epic theme, and Feraud's nimble bass line, echo the work of Chick Corea and Stanley Clarke in Return To Forever.
Brunel guests on the subsequent "Space Flight," and his liquid tone and soloing guide Schloemer's synthesizer into the soaring stratosphere of Weather Report, Zawinul's primary vessel during his stellar career. Chambers' contribution is on "Distant Horizon," another far-reaching Weather Report revisit because of his shell-game with the time signature and Schloemer's darting electric piano.
Henderson worked in Zawinul's post-Weather Report group the Zawinul Syndicate, and the guitarist's prodigious firepower burns throughout "Challenge Day." Built on another epic theme by Schloemer, the energetic track is akin to Henderson's '90s work in the band Tribal Tech (which also featured a Zawinul-influenced keyboardist in Scott Kinsey).
Covington, Tribal Tech's drummer, guests on the closing "Keep Relaxed". A high-octane funk number that belies its title, the cut gets extra fuel through the drummer's signature hummingbird-like fills. Franceschini, best-known for his work in guitarist Mike Stern's group, makes a statement through his solo on "Brain Fever," another Schloemer composition that blends jazz technique with rock intensity.
The guest stars may be the drawing card on TransFUSION, but the guest-free tracks are no less alluring. "Sentimental Journey" sounds like a trip through Zawinul's entire career through its acoustic piano, programming, and chanted vocals.
"Good Times" is a Motown-inspired funk vehicle that could've been an alternate theme to the urban '70s sitcom of the same name; "Indie Dance" manages to blend Middle Eastern and be-bop feels, and the entrancing "For Joe" is Schloemer's ode to his late mentor.
Aside from the work of his special guests, Schloemer is responsible for the entirety of TransFUSION, making the disc an otherwise incredible singular achievement. Through his compositions, arrangements, multi-instrumental playing and programming, the keyboardist always manages to sound like he's looking forward -- even as he reaches backward for inspiration.
- Bill Meredith -
"Throughout the entire disc Schloemer proves himself a more than capable composer of electric jazz at the highest level, and as a soloist he establishes himself as a thoughtful and exciting technician. Schloemer's incredibly nimble fingers fly throughout the recording, and he puts them to good use in this collection of high powered, highly percussive fusion. For those who thought great electric jazz, or tightly constructed progressive rock of the 1970s and 80s was gone forever, this disc will restore your soul."
- Thomas R. Erdmann -
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It's a modernist's dream band, featuring venerable solo and session artists who are among the top pace-setters in progressive-rock. Here, touch guitarist, bassist Trey Gunn (King Crimson), guitarist Henry Kaiser and drummer Morgan Agren (Mats/Morgan Band) burn holes through solid steel walls and formulate an avant-garde spin on the roads previously traversed.
Lucky's Boy is a 2011 release by veteran New England pianist Pamela Hines. Hines is joined by the stellar rhythm section of John Lockwood on bass and Les Harris, Jr. on drums. Also present is April Hall on vocals, whose bluesy style fits well with the proceedings. The entire set is devoted to Hines' originals.
Founder and Director of the Program in Jazz Studies, and Associate Director of the Program in Musical Performance at Princeton University, Anthony Branker also directs ensembles and teaches courses in jazz theory, improvisation and composition, jazz performance practice in historical and cultural context, jazz composition, and jazz history. A U.S. Fulbright Scholar and visiting professor at the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre in Tallinn, Estonia, Branker has previously been a member of the faculty at the Manhattan School of Music, Rutgers University, Hunter College, Ursinus College, and the New Jersey Summer Arts Institute.
This Seattle-based progressive-rock outfit offers a refreshing perspective on a multifaceted genre, where cherished stylizations from the past are merged with a futuristic outlook. Following up the celebrated 2009 Moonjune Records debut manifest deNsity, Moraine's energetic attack and deterministic focus parlays into a vibrant live setting recorded at North East Art Rock Festival (NEARfest) 2010, in Bethlehem, PA.
The young, yet aging, Shutz Vtet is a Los Angeles-based quintet that aims to create original, improvised music while blurring genre lines and carving out a distinct, self-informed sound. Every musician involved is between fifteen and eighteen years old, and they have all attended the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts (LACHSA). Shutz Vtet recently won the Angel City Jazz Festival Young Artist Competition on September 17, 2011. They performed September 23 at LACMA, for their Jazz series as winners of the competition, as well as winning the $1,000 grand prize. In addition, members Jacob and Jasper have been selected to the Thelonious Monk National Performing Arts High School All-Star Jazz Sextet. This entails a weeklong performance tour in early 2012 with renowned jazz recording artist Christian McBride.
Currently residing in New York City, keyboardist John Escreet hails from the U.K and professes a novel outlook, while making a significant impression with critics and progressive-jazz advocates based on five largely acclaimed albums. The artist once again aligns with the crème de la crème of modern jazz adventurists, including saxophonist David Binney on Exception to the Rule.