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Rick Kallister's Progressive Jam Experiment 

Space Is the Place (The New Blues)

Musical freedom often works better in theory than in practice. Once boundaries and restrictions are removed, what then? Rick Kallister's Progressive Jam Experiment is still trying to figure out the answer to that question, as it meanders about aimlessly on its latest.

Space Is the Place comes off as quintessential stoner-jam fare. When a riff is introduced into one of the four extended tracks here, it's toyed with for a spell, then left to evaporate or morph flaccidly into the next. This makes for an atmosphere that -- while certainly spacey -- is also unfocused and tentative. All too often, Kallister chips away at an idea, rather than take it by the horns and work it. Where this disc is headed is rarely clear. The one player who consistently shows strong improvisational instincts is drummer Ashley Shelton, whose intuition frequently points the way to the next level. His hints, though, are seldom picked up. Experiments, by nature, don't always succeed.

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More by Duane Verh

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