Sándor Szabó & Kevin Kastning — Returning
(Greydisc GDR-3506, 2010, CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2011-06-01
For readers who have memorized every review this magazine has published, I won't have to remind you that we've covered the two previous releases by this duo of unusual guitarists. For the rest of our readers, I will clarify that when I say "unusual guitarists" I actually mean they play unusual guitars, not that they themselves are unusual (which may or may not be the case and would be irrelevant anyway). Szabó plays 12-string baritone guitar; Kastning is listed with three different instruments, one of which is a 12-string extended baritone guitar, a custom instrument built in the baritone guitar range (almost as low as a bass) but will all six primary strings doubled (usually at the octave, though he's been known to use all sorts of other tunings). All of which should indicate to you that this is an instrument with rich sonic possibilities. The music is among the most pleasant improvisation I've heard, with delicacy and subtlety ruling, not intensity and angst. Unlike the previous releases from the duo, the cover doesn't clearly specify that all the pieces were improvised, and they are credited as joint compositions. The tones of the guitars are so rich that even dissonances sound beautiful. This CD serves as a gentle reminder that there's more to the guitar than the aggressive, heavily-amplified wankery generally associated with "heroes."
Tomasz Stańko RIP – Tomasz Stańko, one of the greats of Eastern European jazz, has died at the age of 76. Stańko's career started in Krzysztof Komeda's quintet, where he contributed trumpet from 1963-1967, when he formed his own group. He worked extensively with Edward Vesala, Don Cherry, Zbigniew Seifert, Chico Freeman, Howard Johnson, Cecil Taylor, and many others. Many of his recordings have been released by ECM, an association that began in the mid-70s. » Read more
Soft Machine Set to Release New Music – It's been 50 years since The Soft Machine changed the face of music with their first album. Their blend of psychedelic rock and jazz was unique, and while the band went through many changes before disbanding in 1981 — by which time there were no original members remaining — they remained an innovative force with a style all their own. » Read more
7d Surfaces Happy Rhodes Back Catalog – We've covered singer Happy Rhodes before, both for her solo work and recently with The Security Project, but her 11 albums have been hard to track down. Until now. 7d features high-quality downloads of all her releases, and several of them are also available on CD. » Read more
Fred Chalenor RIP – We have news of another sad passing in the world of creative music. Bassist Fred Chalenor, whose creativity featured on albums by Tone Dogs, Caveman Shoestore, and many more, died on June 23, 2018 after a long battle with Alzheimer's. Tributes have poured in from the many musicians and fans whose lives he touched. » Read more