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FEATURED INTERVIEWS

  • Born in Dallas, Texas and now happily domiciled in Los Angeles, bass player Edwin Livingston could be described as being on the crest of a wave.  His CD 'Transitions' was released in late 2010 and when recently I caught up…
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  • Law school creates more than a few challenges. There are hours upon hours of studying, grueling hours interning at law firms, and financial bills that need to find a way to get paid. For many law students the adversity is…
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  •  New Orleans trumpeter Nicholas Payton has never conformed to anyone or anything. Reading his Facebook posts and Twitter “tweets”, you sort of get an idea about how un-traditional he is. He speaks his mind and, should someone attempt to challenge…
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  • Kem Owens
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    Adekemi Owens, known professionally and affectionately to music fans as "Kem," has come a long way from Nashville, Tennessee to his current hometown of Detroit, Michigan. So, one figures that is why this musical genius has written and performed songs…
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Glenn Astarita

Glenn Astarita

Clarinetist John Carter and trumpeter/cornetist Bobby Bradford aligned forces in 1965 and eventually helped flip the West Coast USA jazz scene on its side, although widespread recognition was fleeting. Bradford still remains a vital exponent of progressive-jazz amid numerous session dates and co-led efforts for various record labels. Carter passed away in1991 and released several landmark recordings for Swiss-based Hat Hut Records, Gramavision and others. He wowed the critics via his Folklore: Episodes in the Development of American Folk Music series (1982-1990), providing a visionary musical account of America's roots, owing to the blues and African-American culture.

Acclaimed pianist Luis Perdomo benefits from a dream rhythm section that exercises sympathetic support on this rather zealous trio date.   He's a first-rate improviser, and there's no mystery as to why he's an in-demand session artist.   On this album, Perdomo fuses a restless spirit with a highly rhythmic architecture.  His artistry is modeled on power, grace and shifting tides amid a poetry-in-motion gait, encapsulated by sweeping runs and unanticipated time changes.  Here, the band locks in and punches out a series of sizzling movements, contrasting the temperate subtleties.

Finnish pianist/composer Heikki Sarmanto is a legendary figure within Scandinavian progressive-jazz circles. And this 1972 big band reissue also restates his hip-ness and forward-looking proclivities amid his productions for stage and cinema. Among many rewarding factors, "Everything Is It" has not lost any steam over the years, and is an adventurous undertaking that forges a progressive slant, but incorporates the snazzy, pop shaded big band arrangements of the era.

Guitar master Bill Frisell's global approach includes progressive-jazz, jazz-rock, chamber-jazz, and Americana as the list goes on. But what separates him from others is his signature voice. Otherwise, a biopic account of his rise to prominence exceeds the boundaries of this article. However, Frisell's visionary propensities hit another high mark on this album, based on John Lennon's discography.

Tenor saxophonist Tony Jones' affection for vinyl and the warm analog recording processes, led to his decision to release this textural free-form set on an LP with the ability to download MP3 files.  Reared in California, Jones calls New York City home and has recorded and toured with cutting-edge jazz stylists and pop-rock stars.

This Germany-based trio artfully expresses the lower register realm, framed on a program that enables the musicians to share equal ground and incorporate a concentrated focus, cloaking a major portion of the album. With growling basses, sinewy arco-passages and the use of objects to alter sounds and provide an ethereal framework, the musicians uncannily tender motifs that could sometimes allude to the use of background electronics. In a sense, the trio plays tricks with your psyche, abetted by darkly resonating notes and supple passages. They often intimate a sacred rite of passage amid several spikes and interconnecting movements, signaling understated buoyancy.

New York City-reared veteran and well-travelled drummer Tony Bianco has been a mainstay in global modern jazz and improvisational circles amid prolific engagements with sax pioneers Evan Parker and David Liebman. Here, he aligns with youthful European inventors, guitarist Michel Delville (The Wrong Object) and nascent saxophonist Jordi Grognard for a program that pushes the envelope via structural baselines and heavy doses of improvisation.

The young HUBRO record label issues LPs and CDs by Norwegian artists, pursuing improvisation that touches upon indigenous folk, jazz, minimalism, electronica and avant-garde metrics. As the second album by the trio 1982 offers a striking audio perspective via its unusual instrumentation. With deep-rooted and slightly disfigured Scandinavian folk, the band casts a vista akin to a solemn winter evening sprawled across farmland-like vistas under a full moon, amid a few highly-charged spikes in the action.

Even though this album by Swiss artist Christoph Erb (reeds) and Chicagoans, Jim Baker (synth & piano) and Michael Zerang (percussion) is often centered on avant-garde sound-shaping implementations, their keen use of space looms as an added instrument. Therefore, it's not always what is stated that counts because the trio leaves room for interpretation and as a result, the program isn't clouded with excesses or superfluous content. Indeed, unorthodox and spiked with minimalism, the musicians explore the capabilities of their instruments via this polytonal endeavor that tenders an undulating environment, spawned by buzzing frameworks and laconic tonal swashes.

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.