British keyboardist Alex Maguire is a stylistic instrumentalist, possessing mega-chops who has proven that jazz hath no borders. Whether performing jazz-rock or aligning with British avant-garde bassist Simon H. Fell and progressive-jazz reedman Michael Moore, he communicates a seemingly limitless musical vernacular.
Maguire performs solely on acoustic piano and synth on this live date recorded at a Belgium venue. With this release he teams up with four of five members of the young and exciting Belgian jazz-rock ensemble and Moonjune recording artists, Wrong Object. Consequently, the musicians execute the right stuff, as they transparently accelerate modern jazz into the freer realm amid variable genre-busting frameworks. While also rendering vivacious, fuzoid style overtones, largely abetted by Maguire’s EFX textures and guitarist Michel Deville’s multihued synth guitar phrasings.
The keyboardist launches the festivities with a rather worldly piano intro on "Psychic Warrior," which is followed by the band’s gradually ascending entrance. Then on "John’s Fragment," Robin Verheyehn’s weeping tenor sax lines pave the way for his up-tempo unison choruses with trumpeter Jean-Paul Estivienart, performed atop Laurent Delchambre’s gravelly organ parts. And it’s all honed down by a jubilant theme and catchy hook. Here and during many passages, the ensemble merges fiery jazz improv with harmonically pleasing themes, while lowering the overall temperature via a few tender spots.
They sojourn into the avant zone on "Theresa’s Dress," and then spin a charming and optimistic rendition of late sax-great and Soft Machine member Elton Dean’s minor-classic titled "Seven for Lee." Ultimately, this outing looms as a triumphant coalition. Akin to gently rolling hills intermingled with lofty peaks, dark caverns and terrain-splitting valleys the band merges a wide-ranging soundscape into a comprehensive synthesis of musical abstracts. (Recommended.... )