Anthony Pirog Palo Colorado Dream Cuneiform Records ****
The most exciting new jazz guitarist I’ve heard all year Anthony Pirog lives in the Frisellian dream domain but that’s too simple: subtle, atmospheric-laden spacious sounds influenced by jazz and indie rock, the kind that lifts and separates out into innumerable possibilities, they’re all here.
Part of the Washington DC scene, and a former Berklee and NYU student much taken by the music of John Zorn and the late Paul Motian during his New York sojourn, Pirog’s is a twisted take on the classic rural Americana-laden sound more or less patented in a jazz context by Frisell. Hear what he does with the style on second track ‘The Great Northern’. The direction of the album fractures off into improv waters on ‘Minimalist’ and a loopy soupy swamp of a place on ‘Threshold’ drummer Ches Smith really getting a grind on, Pirog's strong classical guitar command illustrated on ‘I'm Not Coming Home.’
With overdubbed marimba adding flavour to ‘Goodnight Green’, a well thought out compositional choice, Pirog is joined on the trio tracks of the record by experienced sideman with strong avant reputations: besides Matt Mitchell and Tim Berne sideman Smith, bassist Michael Formanek whose album Small Places was a 2012 pleasure. Recorded in a Virginia studio, in the DC suburbs, Pirog brandishes a range of electric and acoustic guitars lovingly detailed in the album liner notes and also makes use of a Minimoog and Roland Juno-60 among other keyboards. The tunes are Pirog’s and they’re really memorable and towards the end there is a sprawlingly effective tribute to a hero of the guitarist’s, Paul Motian. SG
Anthony Pirog, above