The blues, crunchy jazz-rock and a John Scofield universe of jazz possibilities, are never far away from this new album from Nir Felder, consistently one of the most inspiring of jazz guitarists over the past decade. Opening with 'The Longest Star' there is almost a Metheny-like world of possibilities conjured up but Jimmy MacBride's blistering drum solo at the beginning of 'Interrignum' is more like where the album really locates itself, Felder chipping in with earthy riffing and a rumbling acceleration. He is happy to fold in plenty of other instruments beyond guitar in the album's production layers but nonethless II does not feel overcooked. Essentially it is a trio album, with Felder and MacBride bassist Matt Penman completing the trio plus a few guests dotted about. 'Fire in August' has a garage-rock feel to it and the album on one level has a certain straight forward sense of momentum. But other tracks like 'Coronation' take the pot off the stove and add a certain airiness that works well before the blues coated 'Big Heat' soars in and provides one of the album's best tracks. 'Big Swim' with its futuristic synth beginning is a bit of a surprise and the album is good at coming up with new angles of attack before concluding with the anthemic 'War Theory' which again is a big highlight. Worth getting. Once again Felder proves himself a vital presence on the contemporary jazz scene. Out now on Ropeadope.