THE OMNIFIC, Escapades (Wild Thing Records). Having two bass players in a band is not exactly a new approach (both Miles Davis and King Crimson have done it, among many others). But rare is the day that said basses make up two-thirds of a power trio. The Omnific has created a hard grooving, head-banging, blistering release with nary a guitar in sight. It’s not every day progressive rock and funk collide, but here we are with great results. The album’s pace is high-intensity interval training, with aggressive pieces tempered by slower ones, but not for long. Yet the music remains accessible and is never overwhelming. There must be something in the water in Australia, since they seem to be producing one quality band after another. This Melbourne trio is no exception.
NATHAN BORTON, Each Step (OA2). A nice step back in time, where guitarist Nathan Borton takes us back to that smoky nightclub for a 2 a.m. set of post-bop grooves that remind us of Joe Pass. Borton seamlessly sneaks in a couple of standards to go with his highly tasteful original tunes, deftly handled by his band. Diego Rivera (sax) and Chris Glassman (bass trombone) play rock solid leads as well. A quality set of high-class jazz.
BELEDO, Seriously Deep (MoonJune Records). The epitome of tasteful guitar and keyboard playing, Beledo plays fluid and graceful lead lines, sneaking in the occasional Allan Holdsworth-like angularity. His melodies are free to go where he pleases thanks to the solid foundation laid by bassist Tony Levin and drummer Kenny Grohowski. Their signature voices compliment what is being said out front in the finest fashion. The smooth tones played throughout still carry solid weight, even as they give the listener more than enough room to breathe and take them all in. A solid entry from a solid musician.
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