Friday, June 24, 2016

Savoldelli, Casarano, Bardoscia, The Great Jazz Gig in the Sky, A "TRIalog" Based on Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon

When I put The Great Jazz Gig in the Sky (MoonJune MJR 079) on my player for the first time, I gradually came to realize that it was, as it says on the back cover, "A 'TRIalog' Based on Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon." Then I also recognized the very musical vocals of Boris Salvodelli, who is a key part of this TRIalog (on electronics as well as vocals), with Raffaele Casarano on saxes and electronics and Marco Bardoscia on double bass and electronics. Guitar master Dewa Budjana adds his beautiful sound to one cut and there are additional electronic backgrounds by WK569 and some recitation by Maurizio Nobili.

Well and so as one might in these tributory gestures I took a wait and see approach. By the end of the first listen I was impressed, and even more so as I listened again and again. The ideal remake is one where there is no attempt to mimic the finished sound, but rather there is a re-exploration that puts the music in a new light, makes you hear it differently than you are used to doing. And that's just what this formidable TRIalog manages to do.

This is a studio-as-canvas effort. The total sound is a careful amalgam of the improvisatory and song-oriented play of the three in tandem. The electronic backwash lays out nicely and on top are Boris and his special reinterpretive vocalizations, Raffaele's smart saxophonics, sometimes doubled and tripled, and the nicely played, very imaginative double bass work of Marco.

The arrangements put the music in soundscaped prog avant jazz rock territory and force you gently to reconsider how the song lines and lyrics hold up in a resituated creative music environment. And the answer is, extraordinarily well--to any questions implied here.

Songs, very creative arrangements and the high talents of Boris, Raffaele and Marco make this a transformative experience. You savor it each bit at a time and find as you become familiar with it all that this is one of the greatest tributory remakes ever done, really.

Very fine music, on any number of levels. By all means you need to get it!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Eleonore Oppenheim, Home

Contrabassist Eleonore Oppenheim steps nimbly into the spotlight on this, her first solo album. Home (Innova 929) showcases Eleonore's wide-ranging virtuosity and imaginative mastery of extended and standard techniques with a series of five commissioned works that cover a gamut of influences that new music now feels quite comfortable within, be it glitched, pulsed, abstracted or minimal.

Various transformations of electro-acoustics are the formative bedrock upon which Ms. Oppenheim unveils a rather startling arrays of bass technical-artistic possibilities. Composers Angelica Negron, Florent Ghys, Wil Smith, Jenny Olivia Johnson and Lorna Dune give Eleonore a very wide swath of possible musical universes and contrabass challenges, which she takes on with a consistently performatory zeal and extraordinary command of the resources at hand.

Anyone who loves the rich timbral and sound-color gamut of contemporary bass excellence will be much taken with this music and Ms. Oppenheim's artistry, I do believe. It is music that meets you half-way but then gives you very evocative listening fare to send you to various new worlds.


Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Jason McGuire "El Rubio," Terceto Kali

Flamenco jazz guitarist Jason McGuire "El Rubio" is a true phenomenon, an extremely well endowed technical master and a poetically creative improviser. The album Terceto Kali (self released), apparently his second, finds him in the excellent company of Paul Martin Sounder on bass and Marlon Aldana on drums, plus Jose Cortes on vocals for several numbers. The music is all by Jason, with Jose crafting the lyrics for one cut.

Anyone familiar with John McLaughlin's acoustic trio of years back with Trilog Gurtu on drums will recognize a genetic relationship with this music, though Jason stays a bit closer to flamenco roots and their expansion.

But what a guitarist he is! He has it all and makes of it something very much his own. And the trio is a beautiful confluence that extends the flamenco roots into lively fusion territory.

This is one hell of a band, led by one hell of a guitarist! I cannot recommend this one highly enough. Superb!

Monday, June 20, 2016

Beledo, Dreamland Mechanism

Beledo is an impressive fusion electric guitarist/multi-instrumentalist (violin, keys, accordion, bass guitar), composer and bandleader. His album Dreamland Mechanism (MoonJune MJR 077) brings to the forefront his considerable talents as a guitarist especially and as a composer of nicely advanced fusion platforms.

For this album he is joined by drummer titan Gary Husband with Doron Lev also providing hip pulse for two numbers. Lincoln Goines is omnipresent on bass and Tony Steele chimes in well on two cuts. The Indonesian contingency is nicely represented by cameo appearances of  Endang Ramdan and Cucu Kurnia on traditional Indonesian percussion, plus Dewa Budjana as second guitarist on one number. Oh, and Rudy Zulkarnaen makes an appearance on electric bass.

The power trio is on display for many of the pieces, but others break free of that and add multi-colored sounds, so there are a great deal of fusion possibilities well realized throughout.

The Holdsworth influence can be detected now and again, but never wholesale, and always as a sort of foundation for original developments. Most times though, it's all Beledo.

He is a guitarist of beautiful technique, fine sound and great imagination. This is music in the fusion tradition, surely, but a real contribution to its growth and expansion.

The music is at a high level no matter what piece you hear. It's a true pleasure....Beledo is a true artist!

So dig into this one for some fine listening.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Drew Ceccato / Kyle Motl, Orogeny

A duet situation in avant jazz improv realms puts two artists squarely in the spotlight and calls upon their complete mastery of their personal idiom for intensive two-way dialogs. At least, ideally, if the artists and conditions are right.

That is so with today's duo set Orogeny (Meta-Trope Records). It features Drew Ceccato on tenor saxophone and Kyle Motl on contrabass in a program of totally free improvisations. There are no corners to hide in, of course, so we get undiluted expressions, fully coherent and fluid, without the distractions of additional players and with nothing but the artist's free imaginations to make music of meaning.

Both have what it takes to sustain an extended duo set. Drew has a classic free approach for lines that evoke fluid, slithering sound structures and more staccato contrasts. Kyle utilizes the whole of his bass in pizzicato and bowed modes that touch on a multiple realm of articulated colors and a fully open series of multiple and single stopped pan-tonal foundations, all of which serves to draw Drew into diverse spectral expansions.

The totality of the six improvised segments provide an exhaustive exploration of the two in their varied free imaginative moods and sound painting pungencies.

In the process you get a two-in-one expression of dual artistry at its best.

For the bass ingenuity, for the tenor fluidity, this one will pique your creative listening apparatus and keep you interested throughout.

If you come for the tenor expressions, the bass excursions, or both, you will exit the experience with an appreciation for what can happen when free artists are inspired and well prepared.

So dig, you might. Dig, you must. Dig I think you will!

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Mike Baggetta, Spectre, Featuring Jerome Harris and Billy Mintz

Mike Baggetta is an electric guitarist and musical conceptualist of real stature. His new album Spectre (Fresh Sound New Talent 499) breaks important ground and constitutes a high-water mark thus far for his artistry on disk.

He plies an extended electric sound on guitar these days from some marvelous post-jazz-rock sonics and sensitivities. Joining him is Jerome Harris on acoustic bass guitar and Billy Mintz on drums, in a series of originals by Mike and Billy, some collective improvisational-compositions and an Ornette classic, "War Orphans."

Mike has evolved an original style that here reminds me sometimes of the McLaughlin of  "In A Silent Way" and just after, maybe the exotic touch of vintage Terje Rypdal, but mostly his well conceived original musical self, with some really nice digital delay effects and the trio in a very focused and creative zone.

The guitar work is lyrical and beautifully sonic. There is much brilliance to hear!

And by the way, as it so happens, I post on Mike's earth entry anniversary. Happy birthday, Mike!

Grab this album!

Monday, June 13, 2016

Mike Wheeler Band, Turn Up !!

From the blues heartland of Chicago comes vocalist-guitarist talent Mike Wheeler, his quartet and a couple of horns for some exciting soul blues in the honored tradition and lineage of Little Milton, Jr. Wells-Buddy Guy, Magic Sam, Bobby Blue Bland, that tradition.

Mike brings his own considerable, blues drenched voice and extroverted soulful guitar prowess in a series of mostly original, always on it songs. Turn Up !! (Delmark 835) is what I am talking about.

If you need proof that the real blues has not left us, turn to Delmark's recording program in the last decades--Mike Wheeler being a prime example of how Chi-town still is the place for the real thing, just like Wrigley Field is the place for real baseball (and OK, White Sox are doing it too)!

This one is hot. Careful, don't burn your hands on the CD!