Glenn Astarita

Glenn Astarita

Highly-regarded saxophonist and composer Jack Wilkins morphs a holistic viewpoint derived from Appalachian Mountains culture and spins a hip, Americana vibe into the modern jazz vernacular.  Where other projects of a similar nature fail due to superfluous content or perhaps lean too heavily on one genre, Wilkins' mood-evoking sentiment and zesty arrangements proclaim a well-rounded scenario.

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.

Avant-garde or free-form improvisation doesn't always need to be austere or devoid of character. Essentially, these U.K., based improvisers reaffirm those notions in vibrant fashion via these invigorating works recorded at a home studio and live performances in London.

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.

This European quartet presents a study in striking contrasts. It's sort of an all-inclusive type foray where psychedelic guitar parts chime with spacey overtones, modern jazz and free-form expansionism. The primary differentiator pertains to the band's stylistic mode of operations via cunning arrangements and energized improvisational segments. However, melody is a prime focus and sprinkled throughout the program amid some tender moments along the way.

One of the irrefutable greats in the modern and avant-garde jazz idioms, Brooklyn, N.Y., reared drummer Andrew Cyrille delves into his Haitian lineage on this harmonious quintet date for the Finnish, TUM Records label. In effect, the drummer effortlessly aligns jazz music with the Spanish, French and Latin influenced Haitian stylizations, spanning ceremonial, carnival and indigenous folk components. And as the world music revolution has intertwined countless genres, the music of Haiti often seems neglected within the consortium of jazz-fusion endeavors, largely concentrated in African, Asian, Middle Eastern or Latin foundations.

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.

Electronica sans the house music dance element is integrated into the ECM aesthetic on this 2-CD set, engineered by Ricardo Villalobos and Max Loderbauer. Using select and largely acoustic tracks culled from ECM Records vast catalogue, the artists re-mix, deconstruct or beautify themes and segments throughout. Atmospheric, but primarily designed with ethereal subtleness, the duo incorporates misty effects, and understated thematic forums amid a few buoyant parts, touched with simulated turntable scratches and so on.

This historic 2005 reunion at London's fabled Royal Albert Hall and stacks up to be a classic reunion, packaged in the high definition, Blu-ray format. Featuring 19-songs culled from Cream's relatively brief tenure, the band along with the Jimi Hendrix Experience, helped define the rock power-trio format.

Currently residing in New York City, keyboardist John Escreet hails from the U.K and professes a novel outlook, while making a significant impression with critics and progressive-jazz advocates based on five largely acclaimed albums. The artist once again aligns with the crème de la crème of modern jazz adventurists, including saxophonist David Binney on Exception to the Rule.