London-based composer and keyboardist Daniel Biro has a superb new album titled 120 Onetwenty, scheduled for release in early 2018.
Daniel Biro brings together three of the greatest progressive music traditions: Berlin-style electronics, prog rock synths and jazz fusion keyboards.
Throughout 120 Onetwenty, Biro develops transfixing electronic sequences inspired by early Tangerine Dream, Klaus Schulze and other iconic German artists. Additionally, Biro creates awe-inspiring atmospheres and tops it off with memorable synth solos and his signature Rhodes electric piano jazz-rock work.
120 Onetwenty is a remarkable instrumental album that strolls with ease and charm between electronica and progressive fusion.
Simon Phillips – Protocol 4 (Phantom Recordings, 2017)
Extraordinary drummer and composer Simon Phillips has released a superb instrumental jazz-rock fusion album titled Protocol 4, featuring a significant group of collaborators.
Protocol 4 serves as a drumming master class by Simon Phillips, who delivers a series of remarkable, creative drumming performances throughout the album. The other musicians who participate in this recording are all first-rate instrumentalists with experience in jazz, rock and other genres.
Guitarist Greg Howe is pure delight. He uses a wide variety of techniques, from Alan Holdsworth-style note bending to spectacular shredding. Keyboardist Dennis Hamm masterfully crafts atmospheres as well as dazzling synth solos. And bassist Ernest Tibbs provides solid support throughout the album as well as excellent solo bass lines.
Protocol 4 includes the best jazz-rock fusion has to offer, from high speed dexterity to funk and laid back, bluesy material along with some world music elements. And the best of all is that there is no smooth jazz sax to be seen.
Simon Phillips composed the material while on tour, on airplanes, hotels and backstage dressing rooms.
Trip is Mike Stern’s first album about a severe injury to his arms and fingers in his right hand. Thankfully, Stern has recovered and demonstrates that he’s in great shape.
On Trip, Stern delivers a powerful mix of musical influences with jazz at the forefront. You’ll find everything from great fusion and freeform improvisation to swing and more traditional forms of jazz.
Album highlights include the laid back “Blueprint,” where you’ll find Miles Davis influences, with Randy Brecker on trumpet.
Another high point is the funk and fusion-fueled “Screws” where Sterns’ guitar rocks out and jams with Jim Beard’s keyboards and Wallace Rooney’s trumpet.
“Gone” is a delightful acoustic piece with Stern on acoustic guitar accompanied by piano, lightly brushed drums and bass.
Equally good is “Emilia” where Stern adds world music influences, including wordless vocals and West African ngoni performed by his wife Leni.
The breezy “I Believe You” is a feel good piece with great guitar and organ interaction.
The lineup on Trip includes Mike Stern on guitars and vocals; Randy Brecker on trumpet; Jim Beard on piano, Hammond organ, and keyboards; Dennis Chambers on drums; Tom Kennedy on bass; Arto Tuncboyaciyan on percussion; Bob Franceschini on tenor saxophone; Victor Wooten on bass; Bill Evans on tenor saxophone; Lenny White on drums; Teymur Phell on bass; Wallace Roney on tumpet; Will Calhoun on drums; Edmond Gilmore on acoustic bass; Gio Moretti on vocal; Leni Stern on ngoni; Dave Weckl on drums; Edmond Gilmore on bass; and Elhadji Alioune Faye on percussion.
It’s great to see Mike Stern back, delivering masterfully performed guitar-oriented jazz and fusion.
Lucas Lee – Acceptances of Gravitational Collapsing Manifestations (LucasLeeMusic, 2017)
Multi-instrumentalist Lucas Lee showcases his multifaceted progressive music compositions on Acceptances of Gravitational Collapsing Manifestations. Lucas Lee is a formidable musician, deeply inspired by progressive rock and fusion. His style sometimes sounds like a 21st century version of Canterbury masters National Health.
Lucas Lee plays practically all instruments on Acceptances of Gravitational Collapsing Manifestations, except for drums. On the guitar, Lucas Lee switches from skilled jazz fusion techniques to inspired Joe Satriani-style shredding and ambient and avant-garde explorations. Lee also dominates the violin and keyboards, delivering notable piano and electronic keyboard segments. Additionally, Lee uses effects and spoken word to create a superb mix of forward thinking progressive music.
Although some of the promotional material mentions hard rock and metal, do not fear, there is practically no heavy metal.
The drumming couldn’t get better. Drums are played by Marco Minnemann, one of the best and busiest drummers in the progressive rock and fusion music scenes.
Acceptances of Gravitational Collapsing Manifestations features lots of rhythmic and harmonic changes and opportunities for the musicians to have some fun.
Indonesian guitar wizard Dewa Budjana has released a free sampler digital download album titled ‘Postcard from Bali.’ The album includes an impressive cast of guest musicians from the jazz, fusion and progressive rock world: Vinnie Colaiuta, Jimmy Johnson, Antonio Sanchez, Joe Locke, Ben Williams, Tony Levin, Jack DeJohnette, Gary Husband, Peter Erskine, Dave Carpenter, Bob Mintzer, Larry Goldings and some of the finest Indonesian musicians: Shadu Rasjidi, Saat Syah, Indra Lesmana.
Guitar maestro John McLaughlin and his band 4th Dimension have a new live album recorded at Ronnie Scott’s. The band will touring the United States and Mexico in November and December 2017.
Meeting of the Spirits Tour
11/1/17 Buffalo, NY
11/2/17 Albany, NY
11/3/17 New York,
11/4/17 Port Chester, NY
11/5/17 Providence, RI
11/8/17 Boston, MA
11/9/17 Philadelphia, PA
11/10/17 Newark, NJ
11/11/17 Washington DC
11/12/17 Raleigh, NC
11/15/17 Ann Arbor, MI
11/17/17 Chicago, IL
11/18/17 Chicago, IL
11/19/17 Indianapolis, IN
11/21/17 Nashville, TN
11/22/17 Atlanta, GA
11/24/17 Jacksonville, FL
11/25/17 Clearwater, FL
11/27/17 New Orleans, LA
11/30/17 Austin, TX
12/1/17 Playa Del Carmen, Mexico
12/5/17 Seattle, WA
12/6/17 Portland, OR
12/8/17 San Francisco, CA
12/9/17 Los Angeles, CA
Crossing is the second album by an excellent bass player from Malta named Simon Sammut. The album crosses numerous musical boundaries ranging from funk jazz and fusion to world music and ambient electronic influences.
Crossing is beautifully-packaged with innovative fold out packaging and fascinating artwork. It goes well with Simon Sammut’s multifaceted bass sounds.
The lineup on Crossing includes Simon Sammut on upright bass and electric basses; Tony Sammut on piano; Mark Attard on piano; Melchior Busuttil on drums, percussion and programming; Marc Galea on classical and electric guitars; Jonathan Ellul on electric guitars; Kris Spiteri on melodica; Kevin Abela on trumpet; Ivan Borg on tenor saxophone; Godfrey Mifsud on baritone saxophone; Jesmond Azzopardi on bass trombone; and Marlene Sammut on vocals.
Fusion guitarist Mark Wingfield delivers an album of cutting edge, high-energy jazz-rock. Wingfield is a virtuoso musician who extracts a wide range of sounds from his guitar, including a fascinating pitch bending sound.
His collaborators on Proof of Light are Yaron Stavi on upright bass and Asaf Sirkis on drums.
TriCoolOre – World Without Words (Garden Of Dreams Records, 2017)
TriCoolOre is a great fusion band from Nicosia, Cyprus. The foundation of TriCoolOre is a trio of virtuoso musicians on electric bass, keyboards and drums. On World Without Words they are beefed up with a guest trumpet player.
On World Without Words you’ll find a tasty mix of Eastern Mediterranean and Greek influences combined with progressive jazz fusion and even some Latin American elements on the rhythmic side.
While the first pieces have significant world music influences, the final three tracks lean much closer to jazz-rock fusion and funk jazz.
Throughout the album, TriCoolOre treats the listener to superb bass work, supported by the keyboards and drums. The lineup includes Nikos Doukas on electric bass & loops; Angelos Doukas on keyboards; and Vasilis Vasiliou on drums & percussion.
Guests: Pantelis Stoikos on trumpet; Takis Barberis on guitar; and Dimitris Lappas on fretless guitar.
TriCoolOre delivers a set of finely crafted fusion pieces with a world music edge.
Berklee President Roger H. Brown presented an honorary doctor of music degree to groundbreaking guitarist, composer, and band leader John McLaughlin on July 10, during the commencement ceremony for the graduate programs at Berklee’s campus in Valencia, Spain. McLaughlin also performed as a special guest at the commencement concert at the Palacio de las Artes Reina Sofia.
McLaughlin is a jazz fusion maestro whose extensive work as bandleader is complemented by his work with fellow stars such as Miles Davis, Chick Corea, and Paco de Lucia. He was at the vanguard of the cross-cultural jazz surge of the 1970s, drawing on Indian music influences with the Mahavishnu Orchestra and Shakti.
“The role of music is today what it has always been in the past,” he said in his acceptance remarks. “It is the universal language of love, both human and divine. Music is our highest form of collective unity, since in any given concert there will be Christians, Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, and atheists, all under one roof, enjoying music.”
He added, “Whatever we give to music with love and dedication is repaid a thousand times in ways that defy categorization. To be a musician is one of the greatest privileges.”
At the commencement ceremony, 137 graduates from 30 nations received master of music degrees in music production, technology, and innovation; scoring for film, television, and video games; and contemporary performance with a concentration in production; or Master of Arts degrees in global entertainment and music business.
The ceremony also celebrated the Valencia campus’ fifth year, during which time the campus has hosted more than 1,500 students from 71 nations and granted $4 million in scholarships to graduate students.