Music » Music Reviews

Music reviews - 8.16.06


We Are Not Obstinate Islands
clean feed

For those in an adventurous mood, this alto-trombone-drums trio is captured here in a 2004 performance from our beloved Village Gate atrium space. The acoustics should be recognizable instantly if you’ve ever been to a show there, and the recording method --- the quirky binaural microphone technique that local soundman Matt Guarnere favors --- faithfully captures the band from the perspective of the audience. You virtually get transported to a spot with trombone right up-front and the drums and sax slightly more set back. The Diplomats play skittering, unruly music, often showering the listener with notes. But, as the title suggests, all three band members play with an underlying sense of adherence, quite mindful of each other without betraying the whimsy or abstraction that they’re going for. Even in more reserved passages, frenzy remains close at hand, restrained rather than subdued. When atmosphere and melody arise, they dissolve quickly in the swirl. But the drama is no less profound for being so fleeting, and the rest of the music sustains its traces.

--- Saby Reyes-Kulkarni



Guitarist Craig S. Snyder is well known in the Rochester area as a performer and teacher. The release of his new album, Earthbound, should increase his reputation as a player and composer to contend with. Earthbound may remind listeners of jazz/fusion albums by artists like John Scofield, Pat Metheny, and Mike Stern. Snyder has a fast, fluid approach to the guitar, with a slightly distorted edge. The tunes are, in equal measures, funky and melodic. As indicated by the title and the cover art (a guitar orbiting the earth, rocket ship style), the album’s theme is space-oriented with song titles like “Orbits” and “Area 51.” Compositions range from furious, rock-oriented fusion (“Never Return”) to power ballads (“Past the Limit”). There is one vocal track, “Say What You Will,” which might seem out of place on an otherwise instrumental album, but it is not unlike music by current fusion favorites Soulive. Snyder also plays bass on five of the tracks; Fred Stone on another five and Dave Pinto on two. Drums are handled by Steve Curry, Mike Plouffe, Jesse Sprinkle and Steve McMurray.

--- Ron Netsky


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