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Glen Ackerman

The Glenious Inner Planet, the newest CD by bassist/composer Glen Ackerman is an imaginative romp through inner and outer space. Part Bitches Brew, part Forbidden Planet, this post fusion space epic concept album features some terrific compositions and an impressive lineup of some of Houston’s finest musicians. Ackerman’s first release on Blue Bamboo Music showcases his sizable talents as both a composer and a bassist.

Much of the music on this album is challenging, sometimes edgy and bold, but it never loses it’s lyrical underpinning or descends into total chaos. Ackerman also isn’t afraid to show a sophisticated sense of humor in some of his arrangements. From the 1950’s sci-fi, theremin sounds and space age electronics to the quirky song titles, this project isn’t afriad to have some fun and as a result, neither will the listener. Ackerman is accompanied on his intergalactic musical excursion by saxophonist, Woody Witt, drummers, Joel Fulgham and J.D. Guzman, keyboardist, Ted Wenglinski, and guitarists, Chris Cortez and Paul Chester.

To his credit, Ackerman shows a high degree of taste and maturity on this project. In spite of all his virtuosity, he never allows ego to trump musicality and his superb playing always serves the greater musical good.

Ackerman’s “Blue Rondo a la Raad,” is an adaptation of the Brubeck classic and breathes new life into an already great work. The otherworldly funk odyssey, “There’s a Drop of Roppongi On My Shorts” and the floating title cut, “Inner Planet” are both abstract and stunningly beautiful. The pensive Middle Eastern flavored ballad, “Khalil,” features Woody Witt on clarinet and provides a perfect repose and prelude to the ensuing explorations. “Potato Wagon” throws down and up-tempo electric swing fest, while “This Lontano” I gently drifts on dark clouds of sound and time. The next two cuts, “The Thing an the Thing that makes the Thing the Thing” and “4 is a Feeling” are further examples of Ackerman’s ample skills as a composer and soloist. The final cut, “The Angel” of the Odd is a delightfully twisted conversation between all the band members over a relentless and unnerving vamp. Guitarist Paul Chester ups the level of musical dementia and angst with some wild, out of key blues riffs that are simultaneously shocking and darkly humorous. It’s “Lost in Space” but with a dysfunctional family trapped on a very, very small ship. “Danger, Will Robinson!”

This album is enjoyable from beginning to end and a credit to it’s creator. Ackerman is a Jazz artist of exceptional ability and we should all look forward to his future contributions to the world of music.