Fricke's Picks: Astral Traveling


Drummer John Vidacovich and bassist James Singleton are Jazz Fest vets. They played at the first one in 1970 (with the blind R&B singer Snooks Eaglin) and were back this year in their long-running modern-jazz quartet Astral Project with saxophonist Tony Dagradi and guitarist Steve Masakowski. But the hot set I got was at the Louisiana Music Factory (local-music experts and one of our nation's great record stores) to promote a fine new album, Blue Streak (Astral Project). It was a special gas to see the group in such tight focus. Vidacovich and Singleton popped and weaved with spidery elasticity and rifle-shot second-line rolls. Dagradi's knotty, charging "Blue Streak" and Masakowski's "North Wind" epitomized the group's unique resolution of earthy and airy — an ECM-style grace with New Orleans humidity that comes with the album too.

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David Fricke

Rolling Stone senior writer David Fricke has more than 10,000 albums in his New York apartment. His first record review for the magazine was Frank Zappa's 'Sheik Yerbouti' (RS 290).

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