Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Tisziji Munoz - Alpha Nebula Expanded: The Monster Peace (Tisziji Munoz, 2015)

Originally recorded in 1997, this album by guitarist Tisziji Munoz has been remixed and expanded with the edition of newly recorded piano by keyboardist John Medeski. The remainder of the band consists of Ra Kalam Bob Moses and Franklin Kiermyer on drums and percussion and Don (Yaka) Pate and John (Chait) Lockwood on bass. The instruments are brought forward and have a great sense of immediacy and the music has a very hot sense of burning free fusion. “Burnsign of the Arisen” begins the album in an uptempo fashion with extended electric guitar playing in an imaginary world where Sonny Sharrock was melded with Jimi Hendrix. Drums keep pace, but Munoz overwhelms all else before a final section of rippling piano. The scorching spiritual jazz on “Goodbye Sweet Mother” makes the music particularly emotional with shimmering cymbals pushing the strapping guitar further and further out. Munoz will introduce short riffs and then with spin them out relentlessly until there seems to be a light addition of piano at the end. “Creating Gentle Fierceness” builds quickly with electric guitar and drumming and splashes of keyboard garnishing the top. Grinding sections of guitar trio are played off of lighter sections of piano trio, with everybody exploring the lower ends of their instruments and the dark sides of their music. Unaccompanied electric guitar sparks fireballs across the sky to begin “Stillness Before Ascent” before bass and drums come crashing into give it the modern version of the sixties new thing spiritual kick. The whole band is just killing it, creating fires by sparking off of one another to the point of becoming too fast, too strong and too much. Since it is not possible to get any more intense than the prior piece, “Angelic Origination” begins as a ballad that has sad sounding, longer tones of guitar along with light bass and drums. They ratchet the temperature up slowly until it is approaching a boil before breaking into a heavy sound and improvising freely around it. The short but incredibly powerful “Fearlessness” opens with some subtle piano before there is a quick count off and the sound of the massive guitar trio hitting the ground running and taking the music into ecstatic territory nearly immediately. The zero to orbit speed is jarring even to the musicians since someone is screaming in the background. Well worth it though, since this track is short and staggering. “Mastering the Seed of Creation” has the bass and drums unit setting the scene for laser like bursts of guitar. Short spikes repeating with some piano notes bubbling up but nearly overwhelmed by the volume of the trio and the blazing fast speed of the band which is clearly feeling the spirit. This was an excellent if a little exhausting double album, and fans of electric guitar in either a jazz or rock setting will be thrilled. Medeski’s contribution is somewhat limited, but he does make his presence known, and this effort of modern spiritual jazz is highly recommended. Alpha Nebula Expanded: The Monster Peace -

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