Groundtruther

Latitude

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Groundtruther is not a band, actually, but a project created by guitarist/composer Charlie Hunter and drummer, composer, and electronics maestro Bobby Previte. There will be three albums in the Groundtruther catalog when it's all done, of which Latitude is the first -- Longitude and Altitude are the other titles in the series. In addition to the duo, each album will play host to a different guest instrumentalist, making each album a trio offering. On Latitude, it is saxophonist Greg Osby. Illustrating the conceptual nature of the outing are the track titles, "North Pole," "Arctic Circle," and "40th Parallel," all the way to "Tropic of Calms," and "South Pole" on the other end with many stops between. This is a freewheeling recording, improvisation based on rhythm and riff are the framework for each selection while Osby is the bridge not only between musicians, but the interpolator whatever language is being spoken. Strange sonics and beats come popping out of Previte's ether as Hunter struts and snakes around them with this jazz-o'-time-and-space warp style of bending not only individual notes but entire chords and riff figures into something exotic and new. Where he appears, Osby in his wonderfully articulated blues-meets-free jazz manner of soloing, offers historical weight to these proceedings, but also a melodic construction that roots them to jazz's heritage in the moment. Whether it's the freely improvised "North Pole," the shifty futuristic bluesy funk of "Horse Latitudes North," the steamy, slim-line funk of "Equator," or the shimmering, futuristic ambience in "Antarctic Circle," he brings the focus to the tradition itself, allowing his bandmates to extrapolate and bead it on geographical meditation. Osby is absent on "Tropic of Cancer," and the result is an excursion into fragmented, angular junglism, and Previte's breaks and Hunter's guitar spar and turn on a dime in some sort of humid futurist twilight zone. Latitude is an engaging if sometimes confounding listen and offers plenty of interest as to what the next two volumes will hold.

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