ASTRO (Anders Svanoe’s Teleporting Rhythmic Orchestra)
Anders Svanoe-alto and baritone saxophones, clarinet
Tony Barba-tenor saxophone, bass clarinet
Pawan Benjamin-soprano and tenor saxophones, flutes, Shehnai
Tony Catania-tenor saxophone
ASTRO (Anders Svanoe’s Teleporting Rhythmic Orchestra) features an all-star group of improvisors and composers from the Madison area. The group will teleport musically from experimental to more familiar music written by baritone saxophonist, Anders Svanoe.
“The music here is anything but predicable and Svanoe writes memorable melodies, like the hard swinging bebop composition “Bird Strike” which would fit easily on a Pepper Adams recording. Svanoe’s heated solo gives way to the the coolness of Doherty’s trumpet. Elsewhere the saxophonist goes toe-to-toe with Conroy on the brief meditative piece “Spiral Staircase Glamour;” and extends the reflection on “Altimeter High,” which could easily be confused with the music of Don Cherry. Then there’s the cartoon theme/Albert Ayler march “Walk On The SAS” which mines madcap for relevance. The closing track “Subsonic” features the bassists’ bowed and plucked sounds that give way to luscious harmonies. Svanoe’s richly verdant horn opens the composition to images of blue skies blue.
Mark Corroto- All About Jazz
This album thrives on ambiguity, bleeding between styles and moods. If it’s firmly rooted in jazz it also explicitly draws on Svanoe’s love of heavy metal. If Svanoe is building these pieces around definite, composed themes (the full trio shares composition credits on the masterfully eerie “Hotshot”), he’s also determined to bend them into oblique improvised corners. Don’t get comfortable (or uncomfortable) in any one mode for too long. “Rosy Cheeks” takes you into baritone-as-suave-tenor mode, a welcome if almost misleading turn in the album’s sequence.
Scott Gordon- Tone Madison