Creative combo from New York, lead by Jeff Platz with other fantastic musicians. The album was recorded in April 2015 at Wombat Studio, Brooklyn and engineered, mixed and mastered by Ross Bonadonna.
"(...) Jeff Platz is a deceptive guitarist. No matter how voluble his associates become, he retains an unruffled composure. And when cast in standard productions, he subverts expectations by outputting progressive concepts only revealing their subversion on reflection.
Saxophonist Blaise Siwula, a free jazz true believer, is Platz’ partner on Modular Systems, alongside bassist Dmitry Ishenko and drummer Dave Miller, who animate the tracks with chunky string thumps and subtle drum accents.
With Siwula’s extroverted multiphonics, expressed most stunningly in the unaccompanied coda to the closing “Raw Vision”, Platz is in the position Jim Hall had with Sonny Rollins. High-energy tracks such as “Just Say So” or “Free Standing” bristle with exaggerated reed slurps and snorts backed by modular basslines and drum rumbles yet Platz follows a singular passage, interpolating relaxed chording when appropriate.
This construction usually involves reed mastication, which shatters narratives into echoing pieces while the guitarist, with magician-like skill, uses accents and plucks to reconstitute figuratively the scraps into a solid object. On “Astronomy, Etcetera”, for instance, focused traverse licks evolve into downwards strums to patch the thematic holes gashed by Siwula’s shamanistic cries. On the title track Platz matches the saxophonist’s whistled echoes and flutter tonguing with slurred fingering, rugged string slashes and broken-octave pulses to meld into one sustainable climax." Ken Waxman, The New York City Jazz Record, 2016.
"(...) Modular Systems (Setola Di Maiale 3150; Italy) Featuring Jeff Platz on guitar, Blaise Siwula on saxes, Dmitry Ishenko on bass and Dave Miller on drums. Boston-based guitarist Jeff Platz has become more prolific in recent years, leaving us with some five discs in the past year or so. He recently sent us three new ones with varying but related personnel. Saxist Blaise Siwula ran the ABC-No Rio free music series for many years and is even more prolific since starting his own No Frills label. Bassist Dmitry Ishenko worked with John Tchicai and Garrison Fewell. Drummer Dave Miller works here at DMG, plays in Marco Cappelli’s Surf Trio and keeps busy in many assorted projects.
This is a studio date and it is superbly recorded, warm and well-balanced. Mr. Siwula is playing tenor sax here and both he and Mr. Platz sound relaxed. Platz sounds like John Abercrombie at times without ever playing too quickly. The interaction between the sax & guitar, bass and drums is consistently tight and often riveting. You can tell that everyone is listening closely and reacting quickly and getting better as this disc evolves. There is a section where the guitar and sax trade lines, like a spirited conversation that just keeps getting better as it goes. The rhythm team is also consistently impressive and inventive, occasionally leading the way for the rest of the quartet to flow together. The music progresses and gets freer later on yet remains tight with many ideas flowing back and forth, the tempo increasing as the temperature rises higher. Sometimes my favorite improv dates come from musicians you least expect so here is a great example of an excellent date that shouldn’t be ignored. Yes!" Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG, 2016.