Definitely a slow-down of new releases in terms of volume, but certainly not measured by quality. This week’s batch of recommendations can be split into two camps: Experimental music that seeks its own path, genre be damned and those that set up camp right near the heart of jazz. Both groups provide all kinds of fun and excitement, and both will keep you busy until we return in a week with another batch of recs.
Have fun listening and have a happy 4th of July!
*** Album of the Week ***
Tony Wilson 6tet – A Day’s Life
With his imaginary soundtrack for the life of a homeless, drug-addicted musician, guitarist Wilson offers up plenty of cinematic imagery. His mix of modern jazz, avant-garde and contemporary classical provides both the exhilarating and the sublime. Moments of composed grace that flutter away on the wings of their own beauty shift into moments of chaotic dissonance before they, too, transition into a bursts of precise lyricism and bubbling enthusiasm. Joining Wilson are JP Carter on trumpet, Jesse Zubot on violin, Peggy Lee on cello, Russell Sholberg on bass and Skye Brooks on drums. Each listen brings new discoveries and a greater appreciation of Wilson’s accomplishment.
*** Also Featured This Week ***
William Tatge & Last Call – Borderlands (Parco della Musica Records)
Serious compelling session from the quartet of pianist Tatge, saxophonist Dan Kinzelman, bassist Francesco Ponticelli and drummer Stefano Tamborrino. They take a panoramic approach to modern straight-ahead jazz, avant-garde & free, and Mediterranean jazz. The result is an ingenious fusion of clamor and serenity… sometimes blended into a single concoction and sometimes forged together with fire and willpower.
Christoph Irniger Trio – Octopus (Intakt)
There’s an enjoyable exchange of energy and tension on the newest from the trio of tenor saxophonist Irniger, bassist Raffaele Bossard and drummer Ziv Ravitz. The way in which the tautness of compositional frameworks yields to the wild abandon of improvisations before returning back home is more than a little fun to hear unfold. A sense of signals and codes that don’t require a strict translation.
Jacob Anderskov – Kinetics (The Path) (ILK Music)
The first volume in pianist Anderskov’s trilogy that serves the dual purpose of encapsulation of the growth of his sound over time and contemplations on the state of things in the present moment, as past comes to rest at Today. The first volume has Anderskov in a trio format. Peculiar currents of motion sweep across the album, interrupted by occasional bursts of mesmerizing tunefulness and echoes of yesteryear’s jazz.
Trevor Anderies – Promise of a Tree (Orenda)
Drummer Anderies’ follow-up to his excellent 2013 release Shades of Truth shows even more promise. Where the other was a thoughtful expression of the place where hard bop and avant-garde meet, his newest sees him growing more nuanced and increasingly diverse with this mix of modern and classic jazz, folk, and pop. Fans of Ben Goldberg’s fearless experimentalism should be checking this one out for sure.
Walt Weiskopf – Open Road (Posi-Tone)
Solid straight-ahead recording from tenor saxophonist Weiskopf. When the soloists burn through the fuel, the quartet charges happily along, and when they slow down and focus on melody, the quartet eases nicely into the new speed. If you like your music to have two feet planted dead center of familiar jazz territory, you aren’t gonna go wrong picking this one up.
Gary McFarland Legacy Ensemble – Circulation: The Music of Gary McFarland (Planet Arts)
Under the direction of drummer Michael Benedict, a strong cast of vibraphonist Joe Locke, saxophonist Sharel Cassity, bassist Mike Lawrence and pianist Bruce Barth make an assertive statement about the enduring legacy of Gary McFarland’s music. A sense of something old & something new on this session, which, actually isn’t unlike the music when originally composed. There’s a ringing clarity to the expressions on this recording, but it’s the abiding joyfulness from first note to last that is the album’s winning quality. So good.
(No audio to embed, but you can stream the entire album on the Planet Arts site (click the “Listen” link below to go there.)
Joe Manis – The Golden Mean (Steeplechase)
Nifty straight-ahead set from tenor saxophonist Manis, drummer Kevin Congleton and pianist George Colligan working the Hammond B-3 organ on this session. Interesting mix of Manis originals, standards (Duke Ellington) and pop tunes (Soundgarden’s “Black Hole Sun” and John Barry’s “Goldfinger”). Manis & Company somehow get them to sound cohesive, and generate plenty of warmth in the process.
Have a great time digging through the list!
And remember, it’s simple: You like what you like.