Recommended: Ruben Machtelinckx – “Flock”

November 22, 2014


Ruben Machtelinckx - "Flock"There are moments on Flock so pretty, it’s heartbreaking.  Guitarist Ruben Machtelinckx constructs languid melodies and juxtaposes them with insistent tempos, hinting at a potential intensity.  It results in an uneasy serenity that is an immersive experience, but one that could be shattered with just the slightest touch of dissonance.

Key to this sensation begins with the way in which Joachim Badenhorst paints the loveliest passages against this backdrop on reed instruments.  His lyricism is consistent, and to great effect on bass clarinet.  The melody of title-track “Flock” isn’t played, it’s poured.  This continues with “Peterson,” but with the foot pressed just slightly on the gas pedal.  Badenhorst’s bass clarinet sings with a presence, sighs with an arresting redolence.

Machtelinckx and Hilmar Jensson team up on guitars for this session.  The dynamic mix of electric and acoustic guitars, baritone guitar and banjo provides them the tools to play with tone and tempo, while also accentuating the melody in ways that up the level of beauty.  “Cumulus” flashes some teeth and shows some bite with a dissonant outro.  “McMurdo” weaves bursts of electric guitar heat into a melodic cascade from banjo.

On a track like “The Hunter,” bassist Nathan Wouters illustrates his talent for layering shadows across the moonlit path of Badenhorst’s melodic expressions.  On “Loos,” Wouters’s shadows impose themselves upon the fading light of electric guitar.

An album of a mesmerizing beauty.

Your album personnel:  Ruben Machtelinckx (guitar, baritone guitar, banjo), Hilmar Jensson (guitar), Joachim Badenhorst (tenor sax, clarinets), and Nathan Wouters (bass).

Released on El Negocito Records.

Jazz from the Antwerp, Belgium scene.

Available at:  eMusic | CDBaby | Bandcamp | Amazon MP3

Or purchase the CD or Vinyl direct from the artist.


These are videos that I like: Augur Ensemble – “Herd”

November 21, 2014


Augur Ensemble - "The Daily Unknown"Today’s featured video is from the Augur Ensemble, performing the song “Herd,” a track from their excellent 2013 release, The Daily Unknown.  It’s from a July 2013 performance at Loft Köeln for Deutschlandfunk.

It’s an album I return to from time to time, and find it no less compelling than my very first listen.  Here’s a LINK to my recommendation of it.

Additionally, the ensemble’s pianist, Fabian M. Mueller, just released an excellent recording with saxophonist Reto Suhner, which will be receiving a recommendation on this site in about a week.

In the meantime, here’s your Friday video…

Your video personnel:  Eirik Dørsdal (trumpet), Anni Elif Egecioglu (cello, voice), Fabian M. Mueller (piano), Kaspar von Grünigen (double bass), and Øyvind Hegg-Lunde (drums).

Recorded by: Stefan Deistler.


Have a great start to your weekend!


My new Jazz Picks are up at Wondering Sound

November 20, 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.  While I’m still doing the same thing, my Jazz Picks will now be posted over on the Wondering Sound site, which exists in its own world.  It’s why you now see Bandcamp players embedded in the column as well as recs for albums not retailing on eMusic.

Speaking of which, my new batch of recommendations have just been posted up on the Wondering Music site HERE.

Notable albums from this week’s article are:

Albatrosh - "Night Owl"  Jean Lapouge - "Plein Air" Ruben Machtelinckx - "Flock"Matt Skellenger - "New Radio"





… and a handful of other decent options. The year in new releases is winding down, but there’s still plenty to keep you occupied.


Recommended: Marianne Trudel – “La Vie Commence Ici”

November 19, 2014


Marianne Trudel - "La Vie Commence Ici"An excellent new release from pianist Marianne TrudelLa Vie Commence Ici comes off as being very centered.  There’s a calm to the music even when things get a bit heated.  Soloists are provided optimal conditions to express their thoughts, and the way in which their solos, more often than not, build on the group vision rather than focus on just their own individual perspective is the element that provides the album its sense of flawless completion.  It’s one of those albums that resonates strongly by keeping things simple and honing its focus.

The benefits of trumpeter Ingrid Jensen’s contribution can’t be overstated.  On an album that radiates strength from a tightly bundled core, Jensen provides a necessary touch of a Big Sound on many of her solos.  Jensen immediately takes to soaring on “Soon,” the powerful flap of wings a show of force on an album that has an abundance of elegance.  That said, Jensen’s trumpet work is in no way detached from the ensemble’s predominant behavior.  “Deux soleils” sees pianist Trudel and bassist Moore skipping along the surface of the tempo’s stream, and Jensen’s playful accompaniment fills right into the confluence of the ensemble’s direction.

Of particular beauty on this recording is the way in which Jensen and saxophonist Stewart add harmonic passages to a strong melodic thrust.  It adds a casual ease to moments when a tune is charging straight ahead.  There’s also the intrigue from their cryptic conversations added to the brooding intensity of title-track “La vie commence ici.”

The way in which “Urge” opens with murmurs and sighs before hitting the gas pedal is particularly enjoyable, especially in how Trudel and drummer Kuster bounce rhythmic ideas off one another as they fly down the road together, side by side.  It’s a similar pattern to “Le vent est une chance,” which also adopts melancholy tones and stately motion as a precursor to a display of feverish volatility, and is in possession of an arresting lyricism at either speed.

The album ends with “Choral,” reflecting the unassuming beauty and sharp focus that typifies this wonderful album.

Your album personnel:  Marianne Trudel (piano), Ingrid Jensen (trumpet), Jonathan Stewart (tenor & soprano saxes), Morgan Moore (bass) and Robbie Kuster (drums).

Released on Justin Time Records.

Jazz from the Québec scene.

Available at:  eMusic | Amazon CD | Amazon MP3


Recommended: Guillaume Martineau – “Par 5 Chemins”

November 18, 2014


Guillaume Martineau - "Par 5 Chemins"Par 5 Chemins is a thrilling debut from pianist Guillaume Martineau, who seems to have fashioned a modern piano trio album for quintet.  This is especially true of the up-tempo songs.  Establishing the piano trio as the core provides sax and guitar more freedom to accentuate the melody and rhythm, often in coordination with one another and with tremendously evocative results.

Songs like “Tesla” and “Imago” scoot along… a modern piano trio sound with the fast-forward button pressed down firmly while guitar effects whistle across the path and sax matches it step for step.  Or there’s the highly expressive, thrilling personality of “Le Matin des Magiciens,” just bursting with life and always returning back to the home of the melody no matter how far out the solos take the song.  It’s the album highlight.

The quintet eases off the gas pedal for a couple tracks.  “Lolo” keeps the quintet flowing in unison.  Moving parts are synchronized with a meticulous precision and foresight, which provides little seams and openings for the loveliest bits of nuance… warped guitar notes shining through like the bending of sunlight, the rustle of brushes comforting, yet animated.  There’s, also. the moody “Hors du monde,” with its contemplative piano and the murmur of guitar effects.

Lively, thoughtful and seriously expressive.

Your album personnel:  Guillaume Martineau (piano), Tevet Sela (saxophones), François Jalbert (guitar), Simon Pagé (bass), Raphaël Pannier (drums).

Released on The 270 Sessions.

Jazz from the Montreal scene.

Available at:  eMusic | Amazon MP3