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Progressive - CD Reviews (378)

The second recording by drummer Tomas Fujiwara & The Hook Up follows the heralded Actionspeak (2010, 482 Music), and continues upon a course, teeming with unanticipated shifts in strategy, but not executed in shock-therapy mode. With a superfine support system of revered improvisers, including guitarist Mary Halvorson who seems to be showing up everywhere these days, Fujiwara reaps the benefits of a distinctly fresh musical climate. With off-kilter patterns, cunning geometric architectures and sudden paradigm shifts, the band merges a search and conquer tactical component with an acutely balanced mix of structure and free-form dialogues.
Pianist and composer Chris Donnelly teaches at the University of Toronto and has previous teaching experience as a faculty member at the Humber College Community Music School, Prairielands Jazz Camp and the National Music Camp of Canada.  Holding Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from the University of Toronto, where he studied with David Braid, Gary Williamson, Paul Read, Kirk MacDonald Alexander Rapoport and Russell Hartenberger, Donnelly was awarded The Tecumseh Sherman Rogers Graduating Award for students "deemed to have the greatest potential to make an important contribution to the field of music."
The Italian band names itself after a popular plum brandy, to correlate the refined or perhaps slick components that augment its broad repertoire. With its third album, the artists' continue on a path that integrates memorable storylines within a homogeneous old school/new school line of attack, where Eastern and Western folk melodies, radiant prog-rock, and nods to Jean Luc Ponty era fusion come to mind. Sporting a signature sound, featuring horns, violin, and harmonica coalescing with knotty guitar-driven time signatures, the musicians' fashion a mark of authority that has earned them accolades among critics and prog aficionados.
24.02.2012

Rhyton by Rhyton

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With persuasive sonic assaults, ping-ponging stereo effects, and a web-like maze of improvisation, this trio tenders a modern psychedelic soundscape with avant-garde like tendencies. They shade the proceedings with a renegade New York City downtown aura, featuring phased-out guitar parts, booming bass ostinatos, pumping rhythms and dabs of chaos via the slow to medium-tempo grooves.
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.
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.
19.01.2012

Pintura by 1982

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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.
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…
With inferences to metal-drenched avant-garde jazz, sounds of doom, and crazed electronica based free-jazz; Combat Astronomy's fourth album extends its bizarre, apocalyptic spin on cross-genre stylizations.  With notable British experimentalists and avant-garde perpetrators shaping the crazed vistas, leader, conceptualizer, and five-string electric bassist James Huggett lays down some of the heaviest bass lines known to mankind with guerrilla tactics and calamitous sound-sculpting maneuvers.  Huggett overdubs bass lines within various parts, and needless to say, envelops an ominous undercurrent throughout the broad plane of lower and upper-register tonal contrasts.
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.
  EnCore, as its title suggests, is the second outing by Fred Fried and Core. Listening to this record, one can see why Fred Fried wished to work with this group for a second time—the band, comprised of Fried on eight string guitar, Michael Lavoie on bass and Miki Matsuki on drums, interacts with natural ease and their individual styles are matched well.
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.
04.10.2011

Tony MacAlpine

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Consummate West Coast guitarist Tony MacAlpine embarks upon a harmonious and at times ferocious search and destroy mission on his 13th solo album. Assisted by bassist Philip Bynoe on one piece, and all-universe drummers Marco Minnemann and Virgil Donati sharing duties, the program offers a hearty track mix. Here, MacAlpine pays close attention to compositional structure unlike many other prog-metal guitar albums, leaning heavily on the technical gymnastics side amid mediocre song-forms. He also multitasks by overlaying keys, bass and handling the programming spectrum. MacAlpine shreds into the netherworld with a spirited modus operandi framed on scorching crunch chords, cleanly…
An Italian quartet featuring Giorgia Santoro on various flutes, the program poses an abundance of intriguing paradoxes via multicultural persuasions, including movements with Indo-fusion components. Whereas, Adolfo La Volpe's, often scorching jazz-rock type electric guitar performances, delineate yet another distinct aspect within the grand schema.
Last call for Happy Hour is followed by Matt Renzi's mood-evoking set, conjuring notions of a dimly lit barroom amid some joyous late-night impressionism and cogent theme-building exercises. Renzi's largely memorable compositions capture an atmosphere of a party that marches to the beat of a different drummer. With varying levels of intensity, the trio crafts an appealing sound design via interlocking movements and daintily constructed intricacies.    
Italian bassist Lorenzo Feliciati and his laudable band-mates take your listening space under siege with this hefty bag of jazz-fusion, electronica and avant-rock. They purport by a cataclysmic sequence of storylines, topped off by trumpeter Cuong Vu's scorching notes. Feliciati's booming, yet pliant lines help consummate a massive rhythmic element along with drummer Pat Mastelotto, of King Crimson and first-call session notoriety. Keyboardist Roy Powell rounds out the band makeup, where electronics, distortion and feisty improvisational segments ride atop pulsating backbeats, shadowy textures and expansive impressionism.  
Barcelona, Spain., native Dave Juarez is well-educated in the jazz vernacular amid studies with guitar great John Abercrombie and enrollment at SUNY Purchase upon his relocation to New York. Here, the artist conveys agility, focus, and a multidimensional line of attack with his estimable supporting lineup. He alternates moods, tonalities and shadings while shifting the stride and launching animated solos alongside pianist John Escreet and saxophonist Seamus Blake.
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