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Ryan Meagher: Tone

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Guitarist-composer Ryan Meagher has recruited a group of fellow musical renegades for his sophomore outing. Like last year’s impressive Atroefy, this one falls into the “modern jazz for the indie rocker” camp. Trumpeter and Kneebody co-founder Shane Endsley and saxophonist Matt Blostein enliven the proceedings with their bristling, thoughtful solos on affecting Meagher originals like “Run and Gun” (evocative of Charlie Haden’s Liberation Music Orchestra), the mournful “Bad Time” and the pleasant ditty “The Intolerable” (inspired by the rock band the Shins).

Meagher, who is also a facile and original improviser, has a knack for writing interesting harmonies for Endsley and Blostein on the frontline, while electric bassist Geoff Kraly and drummer Vinnie Sperrazza are flexible and savvy enough to easily handle heavier-rocking numbers (“Sherner,” “Reminiscent”) and jazzier material (the dynamic, freeboppish “Farad’s Challenge” and the lightly swinging “Walther’s Pond”), as well as unabashed skronking (“Alpenglow”). Fans of Bill Frisell’s recent work with horns may dig this startlingly original stuff.

Originally Published