Will Martina: Modular Living By Design

Will Martina is among the cellists who have performed with jazz composer par excellence Henry Threadgill-hence the tribute “Thanks, Henry” on Modular Living by Design, Martina’s third album as a leader and second with pianist Jason Lindner and drummer Richie Barshay as his triomates. There is strong playing throughout here, but the emphasis is on group interplay and Martina’s inventive and quietly affecting compositions.

Three of these works-“Strung Out Night Light,” “Little Meow” and “Miiko’s Favo[u]rite Mobile”-were inspired by adapting to life with his infant daughter, and soprano saxophonist Jorge Continentino, bassist Mark Kelley (the Roots) and harmonica master Grégoire Maret contribute valuable guest appearances. “Michicant” welds Brit hip-hopper Roots Manuva onto Bon Iver’s “Michican’t”; the title track features Lindner on Rhodes, in a beatmixing experiment involving rap and acid-trance tracks; and the improvised “Good Night and Good Luck” serves as a short, sweet coda.