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.
British progressive rock and jazz fusion guitarist Phil Miller died October 18, 2017.
Philip Paul Miller was born on January 22, 1949 in Barnet, Hertfordshire. He was a member of various British bands, including Delivery and the highly influential Canterbury progressive rock bands Matching Mole, Hatfield and the North, National Health. He later formed Short Wave and released various solo projects.
In 2005 and 2006, Miller toured with the re-united Hatfield and the North.
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.
Acclaimed jazz guitarist John Abercrombie died on August 22, 2017 after a long illness.
John Laird Abercrombie was born on December 16, 1944 in Port Chester, New York. In a press release, ECM Records’ Tina Pelikan wrote: “He will be much missed, for his sensitive musicality, his good companionship, and his dry humor which enhanced many a session. He leaves behind an extensive discography which will be studied as long as people continue to play jazz guitar.
John made his first recording for ECM, the appropriately-titled “Timeless”, in the summer of 1974, with his lifelong friend Jack DeJohnette on the drums, and Jan Hammer on organ. Over the next four decades, he was active as leader, co-leader and sideman on dozens of ECM projects. A creative writer of jazz tunes, John also loved to play freely as much as he loved to play standards. Many of his albums combine all of these resources, unified by his fluid, silvery tone and improvisational eloquence. In conversation he would speak of his enduring fondness for Jim Hall and Wes Montgomery, primary influences, and also of the liberating examples of Ornette Coleman and Jimi Hendrix; Bill Evans’s sense of lyricism was also of crucial importance to him.
John Abercrombie led a number of very fine bands, and he was particularly proud of his last quartet with Marc Copland on piano, Drew Gress on double bass, and Joey Baron on drums. This quartet released two albums, “39 Steps” and “Up and Coming”, the latter just released in January 2017.
Highlights in his recording career were many and include the Gateway trio albums with Dave Holland and Jack DeJohnette, the duo albums with Ralph Towner, the Special Editions albums (with DeJohnette, Lester Bowie and Eddie Gomez), Jan Garbarek’s “Eventyr”, Charles Lloyd’s “The Water Is Wide”, Collin Walcott’s “Grazing Dreams” (where John and Don Cherry play together), Enrico Rava’s “The Pilgrim and the Stars”, Kenny Wheeler’s “Deer Wan” … the list goes on.
John died peacefully at Hudson Valley Hospital outside of Peekskill, NY, in the presence of his family.”
Progressive rock, jazz-rock fusion, ambient electronic music and beyond