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Astral Project: VooDooBop

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The opening title track is classic Astral Project. An undulating, syncopated groove by drummer Johnny Vidacovich is joined by the authoritative, thumping upright basslines of James Singleton and the funky underpinning is firmly in place. Enter a few hip, strategically placed chordal voicings by pianist David Torkanowsky, ladle on flowing, fleet-fingered unison lines by saxophonist Tony Dagradi and guitarist Steve Masakowski, turn the beat around to an uptempo swing thing, walk that bass and turn the formidable soloists loose and…voila! A band agile enough to delight second liners down in their native New Orleans and pass the bop test with jaded jazzbo New Yorkers…all within the same tune.

This kind of band cohesion doesn’t happen overnight. Astral Project has been at it for 21 years and during that time they’ve developed a remarkable rapport that allows them to mind-meld on the earthiest funk, the outest free-blowing excursions, the most poignant ballads and the hardest swinging 4/4 romps, all in convincing fashion. They touch on all of those aspects here.

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