Local Licks 

This week we review Allen/Hunt/Orr, Saything, Jamasutra, and the Alex Pinto Quartet.

Allen/Hunt/Orr, Drudgery.

The members of this free-jazz trio advertise themselves as a form of aural assault, but their new album is surprisingly enjoyable. "Broken" begins with a long, bracing saxophone solo that might befit a blues tune. Even the swooshy chromatics have a sense of emotional purpose. In fact, none of the ten improvisations on this album — all done in one take — ever slide into chaos. (Edgetone)

Saything. Momentary ENS.

Despite being one of the most bizarrely organized prog-rock bands in the local garage scene, Saything has pop sensibilities at its core. Never mind the band's use of unorthodox instrument combinations (trumpet and banjo), or weirdly elevated language. "The Same Device (Strangers)," with its catchy, rock-steady intro, could totally be a hit. (First 1 to 3 Records)

At The Uptown (1928 Telegraph Ave., Oakland) on Friday, Mar. 11. 9 p.m., free.

Jamasutra, Revolution Down the Road.

Apparently, guitarist Barry "The Fish" Melton has a future beyond his famous Sixties-era rock band, Country Joe & The Fish. And it won't require that much reinvention. Melton formed Jamasutra by teaming up with his French counterpart, Stephan Missri, and three other musicians. Their new album resurrects a lot of the sounds from old protest music, including the stark harmonies, jam band solos, and psychedelic patterns that worked for such groups as The Grateful Dead. (Stephan Missri)

Alex Pinto Quartet, Inner State.

Young but precocious, guitarist Alex Pinto is someone to look out for. His compositions are unpredictably zig-zaggy, and many of them avoid locking into a groove. Apparently, Pinto spent a lot of time studying Indian ragas. "Chai Kinda Day" starts off as a ballad, but turns into a hypnotic drone. Drummer Jaz Sawyer creates atmosphere by treating his snare as though it were a tabla. Saxophonist Jon Armstrong plays jagged, chromatic solos that intentionally clash with Pinto's warm chord patterns. (self-released)

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