Glenn Astarita

Glenn Astarita

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.

Planet Z poses an interesting contrast. For one, first-call session violinist and active concert performer Susan Aquila uses a Viper 6-string violin to diametrically oppose her classical roots, and performs material composed by symphonic conductor, guitarist, Dr. Robert Tomaro. Hence, the program is centered within the jazz-fusion realm and framed on attractive material that effectively bridges the high-impact schema with numerous off-kilter metrics.

This widely acclaimed band's sixth album furthers its plight of providing the listener with a gamut of compelling contrasts amid a unique stylization that offers additional credence to the pioneering efforts instituted by Cryptogramophone Records. Here, violinist Jeff Gauthier leads a prominent cast through jazz-fusion, bop, free improvisation and resonating harmonic output with an in-your-face type composure to offset an array of tender subtleties and classical inferences.

The band's third album offers a persuasive glimpse into how violinist Jason Kao Hwang fuses the East-West musical contingent into a cohesive pedigree of sound designs and cutting-edge applications that circumvent the norm, even by avant-garde paradigms. The album strikes a captivating balance between structure that is often complex but largely fluid, and free expressionism of numerable shapes and hues. Regardless, Hwang aligns himself with a super-tight ensemble. And they exude a synergistic group dynamic throughout the sum of the briskly moving parts.

The album artwork offers insight into the sound and scope of trumpeter extraordinaire Tim Hagans' 2011 jazz-fusion release. The program is brushed with dark hues and spacey architectures, translating into an impressionistic journey towards the nearest galaxy. But there's plenty of oxygen and life here.

Woodwind specialist Ken Vandermark is a prominent voice in modern jazz and improvisation, emanating from the Chicago scene, and currently a major force in the global community. Here, the artist aligns with fellow Chicagoan, drummer Chad Taylor and Scandinavian pianist Havard Wilk for a bass-less trio session, spawning tightly melodic structures within the progressive-jazz schema and the contrasting improvisational domain. Essentially, the trio seeds a distinct sense of well-being into the project to complement a few movements that project angst or turbulence. It's an engagement centered on equality, as Vandermark and Wilk alternate solos and unite for numerous theme-building episodes.