Alex Machacek, Matthew Garrison, Jeff Sipe (Apt Q258): Improvision


This formidable power trio of Austrian guitarist Alex Machacek, 5-string electric bassist Matthew Garrison and drummer Jeff Sipe is impossibly intense, dripping with staggering virtuosity and fertile ideas and seething with the kind of raucous improvisational abandon that we haven’t seen since the heyday of Tribal Tech. For fans of acknowledged guitar monsters like Allan Holdsworth, Scott Henderson and the late, great Shawn Lane, the opening track of their new album says it all: “There’s A New Sheriff In Town.”

Machacek’s mind-boggling technique — blazing speed, uncannily fluid lines and daring intervallic leaps — is an obvious place to begin in singing the praises of this exciting new triumverate. But beyond the abundance of soloistic fireworks on Improvision provided by both Alex and Matthew, one of the most gifted and creative bassists on the post-Jaco scene, there is also a remarkable depth to the writing here, which comes across on harmonically sophisticated pieces like the atmospheric ballad “Very Sad,” the compelling “Shona,” the gentle, darkly alluring “To Whom It May Concern” and the gorgeous “Put Me Back To Sleep.” Elsewhere, they exercise zen-like restraint on the freewheeling jam “Yoga For Cats, Part 1 and 2,” then go for the burn on the aggressively slamming, chops-laden fusion showcase, “Gem1 and Gem2.” And the astounding “Matt’s Riff,” is a brilliant showcase for Garrison’s 21st century approach to the electric bass guitar. This stuff takes me back to the early ’70s, to a time when creativity, concept and risk-taking were the watchwords in fusion music.

Track List

01. There’s a new Sheriff in Town
02. Along Came a Spider
03. Shona
04. Gem 1
05. Gem 2
06. To Whom It May Concern
07. Yoga for Cats Part 1
08. Yoga for Cats Part 2
09. Very Sad
10. Matts Rif .
11. Put me Back to Sleep


One Sheet
Hi-Res CD Cover