instrumental Archive

Album Review: Stephan Thelen — Fractal Guitar 2

Stephan Thelen is a modern classical composer; he has been commissioned by Kronos Quartet to write a piece. His creative worldview encompasses a wide vision, as this new release demonstrates. Working with a staggeringly impressive assortment of guitarists, he has created a work that’s most assuredly not classical. The moody, vaguely sinister album has solid

Album Review: True Loves — Sunday Afternoon

If you have an appreciation for – heck, even an awareness of – the sort of kinetic soul jazz that formed the musical component of late ‘60s and early ‘70s crime film and television, then ohmygoodgracious do I have something to tell you about. True Loves’ Sunday Afternoon is a 21st century answer to that

Album Review: WRD — The Hit

Far more often than not, the term supergroup is hype. Even when it isn’t use of the word can create unfairly high expectations. The members of Blind Faith understood that, and named their (short lived) group thusly. But in the world of jazz, a different sensibility took hold long ago. Artists receive co-billing, and get

Album Review: Three-Layer Cake – Stove Top

Bassist Mike Watt is one busy guy. He lends his talents and skills ot myriad creative collaborative projects, and here’s another one. Three-Layer Cake is a trio featuring Watt plus guitarist/banjoist Brandon Seabrook and drummer/keyboardist Mike Pride. Is this avant garde? Americana? Electronica of a sort? Jazz? I honestly can’t tell you; Seabrook’s banjo doesn’t

Album Review: Humanbeing – Humanbeing

Rossano Baldini has a background in soundtrack work and scoring as well as jazz. This new release takes his music somewhere that’s both consistent with those pursuits and pushing the boundaries of his styles. Wholly instrumental, Humanbeing is an album of gentle soundscapes, often realized using electronic instruments yet wonderfully organic in its realization. The

Album Review: Scott Helland — Guitarmy of One

I’m very much a fan of spy/detective/crime/noir-style music. I was over the moon when I discovered someone – Derrick Bang – had written a book about it. I was every bit as pleased when nearly as pleased when Jean-Michel Bernard crated an album-length tribute to one of its chief practitioners, Lalo Schifrin. And I was

Album Reviews: Two featuring Fernando Perdomo

In this post-major-label era when many of the so-called barriers to entry have been swept away, the fact that a recording artist is prolific doesn’t provide a reliable indicator as to the quality of that output. When you get right down to it, anybody can “release” anything they want, whenever they like. So it’s important

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