The lineup for the New Universe Music Festival is a music lovers’ dream!
The festival boasts a roster of artists who handily defy genre categorization in favor if unbridled expression – all of whom seamlessly mingle compositional ingenuity and improvisational grace and fervor.
John McLaughlin and 4th Dimension – Iconic fusion guitarist McLaughlin helped to define a movement with his revolutionary work with Miles Davis, Tony Williams Lifetime, the Mahavishnu Orchestra, Shakti, and his ongoing solo explorations. McLaughlin’s staggering technique is matched by a tireless urge to experiment and refine, expressing himself via complex metrical structures, rich harmonic backdrops, and a willingness to follow his muse to any lengths.
The Lenny White Group (featuring Jimmy Herring) – Master drummer Lenny White emerged in an era when the lines between jazz and rock were not yet clearly drawn, inspiring him to further blur those distinction in a career that included an era-defining stint in Chick Corea’s Return to Forever, sessions with Miles Davis (including Bitches Brew), Gil Evans, Joe Henderson, and many more. His own group, which includes guitarist Jimmy Herring (see below), brings rock muscle to the sensitivity and open-ended improvisational thrust of the best jazz.
Human Element – Featuring keyboardist Scott Kinsey, bassist Matt Garrison, percussionist Arto Tunçboyaciyan, and drummer Gary Novak (who wont be available to play) Human Element introduce international rhythmic and harmonic concepts into their fluid, jazz/rock framework. Each member is an accomplished musician and composer in his own right, resulting in a vibrant and ever-changing sound that is at once familiar and refreshingly original. For the Festival they will be joined by Ranjit Barot, India’s best kept secret on drums.
Wayne Krantz – Fearless and ever-resourceful, guitarist Wayne Krantz thrives in high-wire improvisational scenarios ranging from complex chordal structures (he toured and recorded with Steely Dan, for instance) to pure, unbridled freedom. Krantz is that rare musician, capable of performing composed music with seemingly spontaneously abandon, or conversely lending his improvisations the logic and grace of fine composition.
Jimmy Herring – Performing both with Lenny White and with his own ensemble, Jimmy Herring has won vast acclaim for his incisive, probing guitar work with outfits as varied as the Allman Brothers, the Aquarium Rescue Unit, the Dead, Phil Lesh and Friends, Widespread Panic, and Project Z. His debut solo album on Abstract Logix, Lifeboat, featured him in a range of situations and provided startling testament to his versatility and self-effacing brilliance.
Alex Machacek – A rising star of improvised music, guitarist and composer Alex Machacek has quickly won the endorsement and support of such stalwarts as Terry Bozzio and Jeff Sipe. With the support of Abstract Logix, Machacek has gradually progressed from a well-kept secret – a musician’s musician – to drawing audiences from across a wide spectrum of genres to his rich, unpredictable music. His most recent release, 24 Tales, is a brilliant, intricately-composed suite built around an improvised drum solo by Marco Minneman.
Ranjit Barot – India’s premiere drummer on the drum kit…and if you live outside of India chances are you probably wouldn’t know that. But with the release of Floating Point , John McLaughlin’s studio CD on Abstract Logix, it has changed
Ranjit infuses his western influenced chops with his Indian soul. He creates rhythms that are intricate and unpredictable; yet they groove ferociously and swing effortlessly. He makes odd-time signatures seem as natural as breathing. Ranjit plays with limitless energy, endless imagination, and total abandon. McLaughlin calls him “One of the leading edges of drumming.”
I really love how Ranjit plays the drums because he is a kit drummer and he knows all the classical Indian stuff but isn’t trying to make it sound Indian. He just uses it in kind of jazz or fusion kind of language. So if you just listen to it casually you wouldn’t even know it is Indian stuff, it would just sound like this intricate incredible stuff. But it being Indian, it makes me able to approach it that way or to understand it that way and integrate with it. So what comes out is not all Indian sounding but it elevates the jazz language to a much higher level. – Jonas Hellborg