My new eMusic Jazz Picks are up at Wondering Sound

April 23, 2014


As most of you are aware, I have been writing a weekly column for that gives a rundown of the best of the new Jazz releases each week (my Jazz Picks).  Well, eMusic has spun off their editorial function to a completely separate site, called Wondering Sound.  It’s still an eMusic thing, but my Jazz Picks will now be posted over on the Wondering Sound site.

So don’t freak out when the link takes you to an unfamiliar site.  I’ll be reprinting this introduction for the next handful of weeks, just so that everyone becomes familiar with the changes.

Now, that said, my new recommendations have just been posted up on the Wondering Music site HERE.

Notable albums from this week’s article are:

Donarier-Veenendaal - "The Visible Ones" Juliana Cortes - "Invento"JD Allen - "Bloom"  Andromeda Mega Express Orch - "Live On Planet Earth"




… and a bunch of other solid options to add to your music library this week.


De Beren Gieren – “A Raveling”

April 22, 2014


De Beren Gieren - "A Raveling"Tumbling down a flight of stairs is not an action one takes willingly, and yet the sudden changes in tempo performed at a high rate of speed by the piano trio De Beren Gieren seem to indicate the kind of personality that might not shrink from that risky combination of ground and gravity.  The heart of A Raveling, the trio’s third album, is rooted in the rhythm, switching up cadences without notice, and with an awkward fluidity that adds to the music’s charm.  An album of choppy motions and rough transitions that never fit plumb together, it’s music that keeps the listener on their toes and locked in tight.

And while most tracks are up-tempo, some tunes like “The Detour Fish,” which shifts from a murmur to a growl, and the bluesy stroll of “Sitting on a Fence” establish a pace that respects the need for a little diversity over the course of an album.  There’s also those occasional moments of melodic suffusion, like the delightful pairing of gently cooing piano and the purr of bass arco on “Broensgebuzze VI” and the blissful conflagration of “Ontdekking van Materie,” and these brief flourishes accentuate the album’s rougher edges and provide them an extra boost of personality.

A charming album from a piano trio that does their thing just a little bit differently.

Your album personnel:  Fulco Ottervanger (piano), Lieven Van Pée (bass), and Simon Segers (drums).

The album is Self-Produced, and released on Igloo Circle, which appears to the trio’s own label.

Jazz from the Ledeberg, Ghent, Belgium scene.

Available at:  eMusic | Amazon MP3

Dado Moroni – “Five For John”

April 21, 2014


Dado Moroni - "Five For John"Pianist Dado Moroni casts a wide net on his tribute to John Coltrane.  Five For John not only includes Coltrane compositions like “Naima,” “After the Rain,” and “Mr. PC,” but also tunes that Coltrane famously recorded, like the Soultrane cut “Theme for Ernie” (written by fellow Philadelphian Frank Lacey) and the Gershwin song “But Not For Me” from the Coltrane classic My Favorite Things.  Moroni, however, doesn’t stop there, also including compositions by Coltrane Quartet members McCoy Tyner and Elvin Jones (“Contemplation,” “Latino Suite,” and “E.J. Blues”), and then a couple of Moroni originals, illustrating the personal mark left by Coltrane on the Italian pianist.  It’s a holistic methodology for a tribute album, and it works excessively well, both in theory and practice.

Your album personnel:  Dado Moroni (piano), Joe Locke (vibes), Alvin Queen (drums), Marco Panascia (double bass), and guest: Max Ionata (tenor sax).

In addition to Moroni’s novel approach to music tribute, his other inspired decision is the inclusion of vibraphonist Joe Locke in the classic quartet format representative of Coltrane’s output.  The other members of the quartet do an excellent job of capturing the spirit of Coltrane’s music without ever resorting to simple mimicry and sacrificing their own sound.  Moroni mirrors some of the surging intensity emblematic of both Coltrane’s sax and (Coltrane Quartet member) McCoy Tyner’s piano contributions, and Alvin Queen summons forth plenty of the power and fury of Elvin Jones, his Coltrane Quartet counterpart.  Bassist Panascia has a fluency with his instrument that allows him to say plenty when an opening presents itself, no different than the way in which Coltrane would allow his own bassist Jimmy Garrison time to speak his mind with a solo.

But it’s the aspects sussed out by Locke on vibes that is most revelatory on this recording.  Much in the way that Eric Dolphy’s bass clarinet evoked a resonant spirituality from Coltrane’s music, Locke is equally resonant with Moroni’s quartet, but evincing a change with icy bright notes accentuating the melody while at the same time shading the edges of the tempo.  In many ways, even though Moroni is the session leader, and Max Ionata sits in for a handful of tracks on tenor sax, it’s Locke that is shaping the songs into their eminent form.  Whether a thrilling solo, like on the McCoy Tyner composition “Contemplation” or setting the table for nifty solos by saxophonist Ionata and Panascia on “Naima,” it’s Locke’s vibes directing events, presenting a novel expression of Coltrane’s music while simultaneously honoring the original’s sound.

The two Moroni originals “Sister Something” and “Mr. Fournier” crackle with electricity, and show that Moroni is more than just a casual fan of Coltrane.  His brief reference to A Love Supreme as “Naima” draws to close is yet another bit of evidence to the conscientious approach Moroni took to the project.

Just a real enjoyable album, and something a little different when it comes to Coltrane tribute albums.

Released on Via Veneto Jazz.

Jazz from Italy.

Available at:  eMusic | Amazon MP3

Dado Moroni – “Naima”

April 20, 2014


Today’s featured video is from pianist Dado Moroni, as his new quintet performs the John Coltrane classic “Naima” live at the Jazz Club Ferrara in February of 2014.

With the inspired decision to include vibraphonist Joe Locke in the “Coltrane classic quartet” formation, Moroni’s crew susses out sounds from seminal Coltrane songs in ways not typically presented.  This is not a one-off thing, as Mononi has just released Five For John, a tribute to the music of Coltrane, and featuring the same quintet from this video.

A review of Five For John will post on this site tomorrow.  In the meantime, here’s a taste of what the album offers up.  In truth, it’s not such a great video, but the audio quality is pretty solid, and I’m appreciative of being able to hear what the quintet sounds like live.  Note: There’s nothing wrong with your volume… the thirty second intro is silent.

Your video personnel:  Dado Moroni (piano), Joe Locke (vibes), Alvin Queen (drums), Marco Panascia (bass), and Max Ionata (sax).



Have a great Sunday!


Record Store Day news: Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey – Millions: Live in Denver”

April 18, 2014


As part of this weekend’s 7th annual Record Store Day event, the experimental jazz ensemble Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey will be releasing the limited-edition LP Millions: Live in Denver.  Recorded at a recent performance at Denver, Colorado’s Dazzle Jazz Club, the music vets illustrate how their wildly varying sound transcends genre while revealing a parade of facets reminiscent of jazz, post-rock, avant-garde, and folk.  Dusting off some songs that hadn’t recently seen the light of day, the JFJO display how their own creative evolution is no obstacle to recapturing the beating heart of old compositions.

Celebrating their 20th anniversary with the Millions release and a corresponding U.S. tour, the JFJO are on something of a roll right now, with their last two releases Stay Gold and Race Riot Suite signaling a creative plateau for a group already possessing a reputation as the inventive sort.

Here’s a track from Millions: Live in Denver…

Your album personnel:  Brian Haas (keys), Chris Combs (guitars), and Josh Raymer (drums).

And here’s a video from that Dazzle Jazz Club performance…


Released on the Royal Potato Family label.

Have a great weekend, and if you headed out to Record Store Day this weekend, I hope you bring in a great haul.