instrumental Archive

Album Review: Richard Barbieri — Under a Spell

For several years, Richard Barbieri was the keyboardist in art rock band Japan; his atmospheric work was a key component of that band’s sound. And once Steven Wilson transformed his DIY project Porcupine Tree into an actual band, Barbieri performed a similar role in that group. (No-man was a sort of bridge between those projects,

Album Review: Allan Holdsworth — Leverkusen ’97

When progressive/fusion guitarist Allan Holdsworth passed away in April 2017, he left behind a substantial body of work. Not long before his death, Manifesto Records put together an impressive boxed set, The Man Who Changed Guitar Forever! (he had issues with that title, as he told me in his next-to-last interview before his death). And

Album Review: Binker and Moses — Dem Ones

It take confidence to put together a musical duo featuring only saxophone and drums; there’s nowhere to hide, musically. There’s no traditional rhythm section to establish a foundation, no polyphonic instruments to craft a melody. But Binker and Moses – saxophonist Binker Golding and drummer Moses Boyd – make the most of the format. As

Album Review: Polyrhythmics — Man From the Future

Polyrhythmics are an eight-piece band from the Pacific Northwest. If your tastes run toward ‘70s fuk and soul, the current-day funk-soul revival of (primarily but not always instrumental) bands like New Mastersounds, you’ll luxuriate in the deep groove sounds of this outfit. But don’t go thinking that Polyrhythmics are also-rand traveling in the wake of

Album Review – Gerald Gradwohl Group — Episode 6

What might it sound like if Metallica was influenced by Allan Holdsworth? The answer might just be Episode 6, the new album by the Gerald Grawhol Group. But then Metallica have not (to my knowledge) worked saxophone into their sound. This Austrian four-piece led by guitarist Gradwohl does feature tenor sax right alongside bass and

Album Review: Lyle Workman — Uncommon Measures

Lyle Workman first came to my attention when he played on Yoyo, the Borgeois Tagg album produced by Todd Rundgren. But he’s done many other things since that have impressed me even more. He was a key part of Rundgren’s Nearly Human album, and he’s all over the second Jellyfish album, Spilt Milk. I wasn’t

Album Review: Reggie Quinerly — New York Nowhere

As a jazz fan, my own particular tastes tend toward music that hits a sweet spot right between old and new. I dig specific jazz forms: bop, post-bop, some fusion and some big band, primarily. All of those substyles have been with us for some years now, so new music in those categories also need

Album Review: Robert Jürjendal – Water Finds a Way

Keeping up with such matters as I do, I’ve learned that there are quite a few different ways of coping with the realities of 2020 and beyond. That’s especially true for creative types. Some have gone to ground; others are in full creative flower. Estonian guitarist Robert Jürjendal is most definitely in the latter category.

Album Review: The David Angel Jazz Ensemble – Out on the Coast

Unless one was an aficionado of the style during its heyday in the 1940s, there was little reason to predict that the form would endure far into the future. It’s doubtful that even hardcore big band fans would have expected it to last into the 21st century. But here we are. Yes, it occupies a

Album Review: The Justin Rothberg Group – Hurricane Mouse

Too often, when an artist makes music that starts with a jazz foundation and leans in an “accessible” direction, the result is smooth jazz. Ugh. It’s the rare artist who takes jazz textures and makes music that is both challenging and melodic. Hurricane Mouse by the Justin Rothberg Group is a successful case in point: