World of Jazz 471

On this show recent guitar focused album releases from Dave Stryker, Gastón de la Cruz, Greg Amirault, Ken Serio, Oli Astral, and Guillaume Vierset. There’s also great improvisation from the band of Alvin Fielder, David Dove, Jason Jackson, and Damon Smith, plus, a track from the debut double album of solo piano from Nick Maclean.

  • Dave Stryker “Lanes” from As We Were (Strikezone Records) 00:00
  • Gastón de la Cruz, Valentino Sampaoli, Nahuel Flores Catino “Bosque” from Onirica (ears&eyes) 07:41
  • Greg Amirault “Tribute Tune” from News Blues (Self Released) 13:56
  • Ken Serio “Almost There” from The Fusebox (Tipping Tree) 22:48
  • Oli Astral “From The Astral” from From The Astral (Multiple Chord Music) 28:19
  • Dave Stryker “As We Were” from As We Were (Strikezone Records) 37:02
  • Alvin Fielder, David Dove, Jason Jackson, Damon Smith “Long Hall” from The Very Cup Of Trembling (Astral Spirits) 42:59
  • Greg Amirault “Song for Nova Scotia” from News Blues (Self Released) 55:18
  • Ken Serio “Crosstown Reggae” from The Fusebox (Tipping Tree) 1:00:00
  • Nick Maclean “Difficulties of Discernment” from Can You Hear Me? (Brontosaurus Records) 1:06:15
  • Oli Astral “From The Heart” from From The Astral (Multiple Chord Music) 1:17:42
  • Guillaume Vierset Edges “First Round” from First Round (Igloo Records) 1:26:24
  • Dave Stryker “River Man” from As We Were (Strikezone Records) 1:29:43
  • Gastón de la Cruz, Valentino Sampaoli, Nahuel Flores Catino “Labios” from Onirica (ears&eyes) 1:38:31
  • Greg Amirault “Sweet Way” from News Blues (Self Released) 1:46:01
  • Ken Serio “Dusk” from The Fusebox (Tipping Tree) 1:52:17
  • Guillaume Vierset Edges “Better Call Pam” from First Round (Igloo Records) 1:56:47

Dave Stryker

Dave Stryker – guitar
Julian Shore – piano
John Patitucci – bass
Brian Blade – drums
String Quartet:
Sara Caswell – violin 1
Monica K.Davis – violin 2
Benni von Gutzeit – viola
Marika Hughes – cello

“It’s my dream project,” Dave Stryker repeats several times in a conversation about his 34th release as a leader, As We Are, on which the guitar master addresses one of the few configurations he hasn’t tackled during 40-plus years in the jazz trenches.
Stryker, not predisposed to hyperbole, isn’t exaggerating. How else to describe an opportunity to record a suite of new originals with a band propelled by all-world bass-drum partners John Patitucci and Brian Blade, fleshed out by harmonically erudite pianist Julian Shore’s bespoke string quartet arrangements that include room for a couple of soaring violin solos by the luminous Sara Caswell? Stimulated by the chance to make music together after long isolation, all members interact with crackling, pent-up energy.
“I always wanted to do something where strings would really be integrated into the music, not a colouring or sweetening that comes in later,” Stryker says. Shore rises to the occasion, imparting a lush, fulsome sound to the two violins, viola and cello, creating sections that offer texture and contrast.
In keeping with the dream project Stryker reached out to two of the greatest musicians alive today – Patitucci and Blade who happily signed on. Six new Stryker originals, one Shore original and Nick Drake’s River Man are arranged with string quartet by Shore to create one of the most truly beautiful and exciting recordings in recent times.


Gastón de la Cruz, Valentino Sampaoli, Nahuel Flores Catino

Gastón de la Cruz: guitar & composition

Valentino Sampaoli: double bass & electric bass.

Nahuel Flores Catino: drums & percussion

Special Guests:

José Marín: soprano sax (on Onírica)

Ornella Contreras: piano (on Onírica)

The trio was formed in January 2020. In April of the same year they released their first album, “Correspondencia”, through the label Discos ICM. The group’s axis is the interaction between written material and improvisation (trying to blur the limit between these two concepts) and the search for different and new timbral possibilities as a structural part of the compositions.

For this second work, the compositions are, for the most part, small fragments of written music, from which emerge various moments of improvisation that complete their form. We can listen to an aesthetic exploration that ranges from noise on “N1” or rock on “N2”, to situations of free improvisation on “Onírica” (the only song on the album composed for quintet) or the mantric “La Culpa”, in which the only guide is the search for a “tribal” sound. Finally, the album features “(El) Bosque” and “Labios”, two songs with a format that resembles more to that of the Standard trio.


Greg Amirault

Greg Amirault – Guitar
Steve Amirault – Piano
Adrian Vedady – Bass
Jim Doxas – Drums

Originally from Yarmouth Nova Scotia, guitarist Greg Amirault has been living and performing in Montreal for over 30 years. A long time faculty member of the jazz programs at McGill and Concordia University, Amirault is a past winner of the Grand Prix de Jazz at the Montreal International Jazz Festival and the Prix d’Opus. For decades, he has been a mainstay of the Montreal jazz scene, and one of Canada’s most notable guitarists. News Blues is Amirault’s third recording as a leader. It features three of Canada’s finest jazz musicians: pianist (and Greg’s brother) Steve Amirault, bassist Adrian Vedady, and drummer Jim Doxas. This recording consists of nine tunes: seven of Greg Amirault’s original compositions, and two classic jazz standards. This album offers a variety of moods and textures: there are straight ahead swingers like News Blues and Uninvited, more modern sounding pieces like Tribute Tune and Meeting the Master, and the folk influenced Song for Nova Scotia, an homage to Amirault’s birthplace. The recording also features two solo guitar arrangements of a couple of Amirault’s favourite jazz standards, the ballads If You Could See Me Now and Embraceable You. These four musicians have been playing together in a variety of formations for over twenty years. This albums is a testament to the strong connection they’ve nurtured together.


Ken Serio

Ken Serio – Drums
Mike Stern – Guitar
Brian Charette – Keyboards
Achilleas Diamantis – Guitar, Zitar, Synths
Jedd Chlebowski – Bass
Sakiis Zachariades – Guitar
Costas Katsaros – Trumpet
Billy Eric – Bass
Rick Austin – Bass
Owen Yost – Bass
Sinan Bakir – Guitar

Ken Serio has been a major musical force on the East Coast for a long time now. He is a prolific recording artist and a go-to drummer for some major luminaries in the music business. He has recorded, toured and performed with Billy Joel, Alicia Keys, Joey Ramone, Mark Egan, Philip Glass, Danny Gottlieb and The Beastie Boys to name a few. For 23 years Serio was mentored by the great Joe Morello. Serio’s connection with Mike Stern goes back to the 80’s when Serio played with Vic Jurius. The Fuse Box is his latest creation of original music with the exception of one track written by Billy Cobham. After releasing over 10 CD’s as a leader The Fuse Box represents Serio’s most ambitious project to date. The album is an excellent showcase of Serio’s versatility as a drummer mixing musical styles from Contemporary Jazz to Reggae to Gospel Blues to Prog Rock.

Oli Astral

Guitar : Olivier Grenier Bédard (LEADER)
Double Bass : Frédéric Alarie
Drums : William Régnier

Oli Astral is a musical universe where the sound of modern jazz guitar merges with digital music technology and visual projection. The group keeps a balance between technology and a more organic approach to music. Some elements like computers on stage, virtual instruments, MIDI controllers, digital audio processing techniques, and Frederic’s Modular Synthesizers serve the imagination of the musicians. The musical values thought, are still deeply rooted in the tradition of Jazz. Things like improvisation, group interaction, and risk-taking are very important in the creative process of the trio.


Alvin Fielder, David Dove, Jason Jackson, Damon Smith

David Dove: trombone
Jason Jackson: tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone
Damon Smith: double bass
Alvin Fielder: drums

Recorded July 30, 2016, Sanders Hall, Christ Church Cathedral, Houston, Texas

Nick Maclean

This double album, a debut solo piano release from award-winning Toronto pianist NICK MACLEAN, takes influences from jazz piano greats such as Bill Evans, Keith Jarrett, and Brad Mehldau, as well as that of his two divergent ensembles: Snaggle and Nick Maclean Quartet. Maclean, whose groups have frequently been lauded for the strength of their collective improvisatory vision, continues here in that unconstrained spirit with courageous risktaking and musical exploration springing from inthe-moment inspiration. Shaped by Maclean’s respect and trust in producer Brownman Ali’s impactful, omnipresent guidance, Maclean delivers rich and prismatic interpretations of originals, standards, and other spontaneous contemplations. Thus, this solo pianistic odyssey’s completion represents Maclean’s most vulnerable, personal, and intimate recordings to date.

Guillaume Vierset Edges

A real punch in the Belgian jazz ant-hill, ‘First Round’ is the first EP of EDGES, the new project of Brussels based guitarist Guillaume Vierset. It is with a high-flying international team that he takes us with poetry and nonchalance into an exciting musical universe, right on the borders of jazz and (prog) rock.

For a musician who dissects genres and refuses to be assigned to one musical rank, it is no surprise that Guillaume called his new project EDGES. The band was born following a carte blanche offered by the Marni Jazz Festival. Guillaume opted for an international formula and brought along the Danish bassist Anders Christensen (Tomasz Stanko, Jakob Bro, Paul Motian and Aaron Parks), keyboardist Dorian Dumont (ECHT!), and the American drummer Jim Black (Alas No Axis, Tim Berne, Ellery Eskelin or Kurt Rosenwinkel).

Catchy riffs, pyscho-vintage keyboards, sometimes airy, sometimes saturated or even saturated or even flayed, this ‘First Round’ takes us into the troubled areas of the jazz and progressive rock. The guitarist pushes the boundaries and takes a singular look at today’s world with a certain sagacity world today.

A real success on stage, the band reunited two confinements later to record a record called ‘The End Of The F***ing World’. “First Round” is the first part of the album, released as a digital 4-track and announces the album to be released in autumn 2023.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s