On November 20 and 21, 2010, maverick record label Abstract Logix hosted a series of spectacular performances, featuring an array of artists who handily defy genre categorization in favor of unbridled expression. The first New Universe Festival was a die-hard music lover's dream, defined by artists who seamlessly mingle compositional ingenuity and improvisational grace and fervor.
Among the featured musicians were pioneering guitarist John McLaughlin and his current band the 4th Dimension with special guest, world music legend tabla maestro Zakir Hussain; Widespread Panic guitar hero Jimmy Herring with his electric band; Return to Forever Drummer Lenny White; the all-star quartet Human Element (keyboardist Scott Kinsey, bassist Matt Garrison, percussionist Arto Tunçboyaciyan; fearless guitarist and improviser Wayne Krantz appearing with the amazing Anthony Jackson on bass; visionary Indian composer and drummer Ranjit Barot; and emerging guitar visionary Alex Machacek.
(4 stars) A glittering array of current fusion heroes showcase just how vibrant the scene has become. -- Bass Guitar Magazine, (Mike Flynn), September 2011
(4 stars) The highlights range from tonal sensitivity, harmonic ingenuity and individual virtuosity to rhythmic meltdown. -- Evening Standard, (Jack Massarik), September 2, 2011
(4 stars) The playing is anything but predictable...their embrace of risk and the pleasure they take in spontaneous performance are palpable. -- The Guardian, (John Fordham), August 19, 2011