Noah Young, “Start the Reactor” (Independent)

As the bassist for local favorites Naughty Professor, Noah Young usually keeps it pretty funky, if exploratory; their version of New Orleans party music is appropriately danceable but flutters as well as it pops. This first proper full-length solo album, however, turns out to be straight jazz fusion all the way: seven extended exploratory, experimental cuts as busy as the cover (which not for nothing looks like some vintage ’70s Roger Dean artwork). And like any good jazz improv man, Young knows enough to gather real peers to trade fours with, specifically the spacy old-school synth noodlings of Jason Butler (Shamarr Allen, The New Sound, Dominic Grillo) and the lyrical guitar runs of Danny Abel (of Big Sam’s Funky Nation and Groovesect fame).

Yet for all that, Noah never seems to get lost in the shuffle, firmly anchoring the bottom and allowing his longtime drummer Walter Lundy to really stretch out on polyrhythmic interplanetary flights like “What Have You Been Feeding This Thing?” and letting the whole band crash into walls at the same time, Inception style, on seemingly straightforward up-tempo numbers like “Memory Lane.” “5 Minute Miracle” is just that, though it actually only takes four minutes of trying to convince Abel to open up a duet with him and really shoot them into the stratosphere. But it’s two R&B numbers where everything really comes together and the quintet really finds its voice: the brainy quiet storm of “Frat Sisters” and a stellar reworking of Teena Marie’s “Square Biz,” where Young tones down the garish popping of the original, leaving room for everybody to take off at once.