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Michael Musillami Trio + 4: Mettle

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For 10 years now, guitarist Michael Musillami has had the kind of hand-in-glove fit with drummer George Schuller and bassist Joe Fonda that is truly rare in jazz. A prolific composer with a freebop bent, Musillami paints on a much bigger canvas here by augmenting his core trio with likeminded musical insurgents Ned Rothenberg and Jeff Lederer (reeds), Russ Johnson (trumpet) and Matt Moran (vibraphone). With a tinge of nasty distortion in his fleet-fingered lines, Musillami’s spiky single-note playing on outré showcases like the explosive “Iceland,” from his eight-movement Summer Suite: Twenty Ten, may recall subversive six-stringers like Sonny Sharrock and Tisziji Muñoz. But there’s far more here compositionally, owing at times to Monk, Mingus and Dolphy while still observing a scorched-earth policy with regards to the solos. And while he and his crew explode with wild abandon throughout, Musillami also shows an aptitude for advanced horn voicings and counterpoint on these 11 intriguing pieces.

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