Friday, July 3, 2015

Mario Pavone, Blue Dialect, with Matt Mitchell and Tyshawn Sorey

Anyone who has listened closely to the free-avant zone of jazz over the years has come to know double-bassist Mario Pavone as one of the most innovative, consistently creative practitioners of the art. He rarely comes to us as a leader of a date, but that is just what he does on the intriguing set Blue Dialect (Clean Feed 319).

He has chosen his bandmates with care. Pianist Matt Mitchell is fast becoming a pianist of genuine stature with some excellent work as a member of Tim Berne's Snakeoil and in other projects. Drummer Tyshawn Sorey rides at the top of the new wave of avant jazz drummers. Both together create a potent 2/3rds of the trio.

Mario presides with some excellent bass playing and a set of compositions (eight in all, with an additional number that is a collective improv) that are provocative and modern.

The tensile strength of the trio grabs you on first hearing and the impression remains in subsequent listens. Everybody pulls much weight for a moving result.

If Matt Mitchell gives us an open, blowing horn sort of pianism here, it fits the character of the compositions and gives lots of latitude for bass and drums to swing busily yet primally. The three-way interaction may extend outward from and simultaneously remind you of the classic Paul Bley trios of earlier days. That certainly fits with Mario's excellent inward-outward bass playing stance. Tyshawn and Matt excel in their interpretations of their respective roles. This is not a glace backward so much as it is a journey forward with a mindfulness of the roots.

The results are beautiful. You should hear this one.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Dreadnaught, Gettin' Tight with Dreadnaught

The prog rock juggernaught Dreadnaught returns with a new EP, Gettin' Tight with Dreadnaught (Red Fez Records). I've covered their music here before (type in search box above for those articles). If anything they have gotten more accomplished and complex in their guitar-keys-bass-drum routines. They give us some 20 minutes of music that presses the prog virtuoso possibilities to the edge but then does not forget to include the song-vocal elements.

It's a recording that packs a punch. The songs are at times as innovative as the instrumental routines, though they may not have an anthemic radio sort of presence, meaning they are unlikely to be found played on top-40 rock stations, if such a thing still exists.

But what do we care about that? This is driving prog that will satisfy those who seek something new and beyond in the genre and perhaps will win over those who flirt with the fringes of the scene.

In any event this is a great listen! Recommended.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Honeybird, Out Comes Woman

Some music is beyond category. It fits in a number of pegholes but not comfortably. Honeybird (aka multi-instrumentalist singer-songwriter Monique Mizhrahi) is that, on her album Out Comes Woman (self-released).

She comes out of California of Yiddish-Sephardic parents and an apparent openness to many musical styles and genres. She plays electric bass, charango and sings the lead on all her tunes, accompanied by a good band. There is a quirkiness to it all. R&B, rock, world folk, jazz elements and a good else get into her mix. She was initially attracted to punk in her formative years and I suppose something of that comes through with a careful listen, perhaps more Lydia Lunch than the Sex Pistols. But nothing direct in that sense.

I suppose it all qualifies as a sort of alt music if you must chose. These are songs, good ones, and they partake of a cornucopia of elements to get what she is after.

There are 14 songs in all here. Every one is different and I will not try to give you a blow-by-blow on them. They stand out, as does her singing.

If you are after different, it is found here. Try this one out, by all means.

Friday, June 26, 2015

XADU, Random Abstract

In the realm of guitar-based fusion, all of course depends on the quality of the improvisations and the freshness of the compositions. We get both with the band XADU and their album Random Abstractions. It showcases the electric guitar excellence of Dusan Jevtovic and the fine drumming of Xavi Reija.

They have two previous albums that were covered on these pages (type in the search box above for the reviews): Dusan with Am I Walking Wrong and Xavi with Dusan and bassist Bernat Hernandez on Resolution. Both albums were very good. As the duet XADU they have moved a step further.

This is metal jazz if you like, with compositions that enliven things considerably and excellent musicianship. Dusan reminds ever so slightly of Terje Rypdal in his advanced harmonic-melodic ingenuity. Xavi drums with fervor and imagination, rocking freely with a pulse that is less tied to bar lines than it is additive and subtractive, which frees up the time and gives Dusan a flexibility in phrasing that allows him literally to take off.

The tunes are the opposite of formulaic. Dusan's "New Pop" has a chord progression that stays in your head uniquely. That may be the high point but it all has substance and innovative qualities.

This is an album that needs to be heard. Guitarists will have much to hear on this one, but everyone who responds to fusion will find something different and very much directionally ahead.

Highly recommended!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

United Slaves #2-3, Vinnie Paternostro, Gene Janas, Jay Reeve, etc.

On the docket today is a double-CD of electric freedom of a cosmic sort, partaking of rock-drone elements and free jazz in a very nice way. The album is entitled United Slaves #2-3 (Improvising Beings ib37).

The band here consists of a quintet. Vinnie Paternostro is on drums, Gene Janas at the double bass, Jay Reeve on synthesizer, Michel Kristof on electric guitar and sitar, and Julien Palomo on keys.

They give us an extended outing that combines a blend of instrumental collectivity with a dynamic changing freedom that does not pulsate so much as express freetime collaging, with neo-psychedelic avant immediacy.

It's outside all the way, with electric guitar onslaughts that blend with washes of keys, bass and drums.

Imagine what some of the vintage psychedelic groups did live for a minute or two in heady times, then imagine that expanded into a long extended 2-CD voyage into space. That's something of what you get.

I find the whole thing fascinating and bracing. If you aren't into the avant electric thing you may shy away from this. That of course is your affair. Intrepid travelers of the spaceways will no doubt take to it like I did. There is nothing compromising here, not even a tune to get your bearings. So take off with it.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Metallic Taste of Blood, Doctoring the Dead

Some vital jazz-metal-avant music is being made out there. I've been covering it here when the music strikes me. Another good one is up today. Metallic Taste of Blood is the brainchild of guitar-electrician Eraldo Bernocchi. He put an album out a while ago that I missed, but he returns with a new band lineup and some intriguing heavy sounds on Doctoring the Dead (RareNoise RNR 053 & RNR053LP, CD or vinyl).

The band is a together one, with Bernocchi teaming up with Colin Edwin on bass guitar, Ted Parsons, drums, and either Roy Powell or Matilde Bernocchi on keys and electronics.

The music has compositional structure and very heavy clout. It's about a well wrought group sound more than a showcase for guitar pyrotechnics, though you will hear good playing if you listen closely.

We get all-out, expanded, driving compositional sequences that bring the dark metal sound into space nicely, thoroughgoingly and ambientally.

It has music that grows on you the more you hear it. But it's not for the squeamish, really. The sounds are thick and invigorating! Check it out!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Gary Peacock Trio, Now This

It is rather incredible thinking retrospectively at this later date about the presence of bassist Gary Peacock on the jazz scene. He was an important member of many classic avant and otherwise dates before he became the long-standing bassist with Keith Jarrett's Standards Trio. And with Gary's new trio CD Now This (ECM 2428) we are reminded of what he can do and be in a changed playing context.

The trio is an excellent one, with Marc Copland at the piano and Joey Baron on drums, two very beautiful players who have for years managed to create their own stylistic turf in an ever-shifting improvisatory world. The three together here remind you that having a truly individual voice in this music is very difficult and very rare. Peacock, Copland and Baron have done it and by getting together as a threesome they make a trio that stands out as a furtherance of their personal and collective selves as well as of the music.

The tunes are gems, seven by Peacock, two by Copland, one by Baron and the classic "Gloria's Step" by Scott LaFaro. The nod to the bass pioneer reminds us of the now long history of the modern piano trio and Peacock's central place in it, as well as of the critical legacy of LaFaro in creating the bass role for the classic Evans Trio. Gary of course spent a long time creating his own place in that legacy and we are witness to its mature ripening, its full-flowering on this release as on the classic Jarrett sides.

Happily, there is a good deal of Peacock's playing in an out-front context and he sounds very wonderfully himself throughout. The magic touch and voicing excellence of Copland shines forward as well, making this something special. And Baron in the piano trio tradition is subtle and supremely artistic.

This date has a sublimity about it that comes about when three artists of this high caliber get real traction from the three-way dialog. It is inspired music, piano trio music of the highest sort. They are substantially different sounding than the Standards Trio and so there is a freshness here, a different sort of beauty.

Highly recommended!