This Is Jazz Today: Oded Lev-Ari, Tore Brunborg, Samuel Blaser & more!

April 30, 2015

 

BitW square avatarGood god, this was an excellent week of new jazz releases.  There were any number of albums that could’ve been slotted as the Pick of the Week.  Just as telling, however, are the number of quality albums that didn’t get included on today’s list… albums that I’ll likely try to squeeze in either next week or in short stand-alone reviews.

It’s weeks like this that make all the hard work digging through the new release listings so worthwhile… so much music that’s so uplifting, each in their own way.

If you had a budget, just surrender it right now.  Take out a loan if you have to.  You need to have this music.

Let’s begin…

*** Pick of the Week ***

 

Oded Lev-Ari – Threading

Oded Lev-Ari - "Threading"On a week of many excellent new releases, the debut by pianist & composer Lev-Ari stands out from the crowd.  With his blend of jazz and classical, this large ensemble set of chamber jazz pieces hits any number of sweet spots.  He offers up ballads that sway with a sound of jazz from long long ago, extended pieces cut through with contemporary classical streaks and jazz improvisation, ebullient up-tempo pieces that sing the blues and moody, contemplative pieces that occupy a place all to themselves.  I’ll be writing much more about this excellent album in the very near future, but I don’t suggest waiting… just go buy this album right now.

Released on Anzic Records.  Visit the artist site.

More listening | Buy: BandcampAmazon

*****

*** This week’s featured albums ***

 

Tore Brunborg – Slow Snow (ACT Music)

Tore Brunborg - "Slow Snow"A highly expressive, deeply melodic set from saxophonist/pianist Brunborg.  Two feet in modern territory with compositions that stray into indie-rock and the tasteful use of electronics (courtesy of both guitarist Eivind Aarset and drummer Per Oddvar Johansen). Fans of the Esbjorn Svensson Trio should definitely scoop this one up.

Artist site | Listen | Buy:  Amazon

*****

Bruno Raberg Quartet – Hot Box (Self-Produced)

Bruno Raberg - "Hot Box"Nifty modern straight-ahead session from bassist Bruno Raberg.  Compositions have plenty of drive, but the casual, almost off-the-cuff delivery is plenty appealing.  Mixing in some oddball pieces gives the more conventional tunes even greater definition.

Artist site | Listen | Buy: eMusicBandcampCDBaby

*****

Samuel Blaser – Spring Rain (Whirlwind)

Samuel Blaser - "Spring Rain"Solid quartet session from trombonist Blaser, drummer Gerald Cleaver, pianist Russ Lossing and bassist Drew Gress.  Whether it’s modern post-bop, avant-garde free improv or chamber music, Blaser always brings an unconventional voice to the affair.  This is the kind of thing that leads to revealing, inspired moments… like on his newest recording.

Artist site | Buy: eMusicAmazon

*****

John Raymond – Foreign Territory (Fresh Sound New Talent)

John Raymond - "Foreign Territory"Solid straight-ahead recording from trumpeter Raymond, backed with an excellent line-up of pianist Dan Tepfer, bassist Joe Martin and drummer Billy Hart.  Plenty enjoyable when the quartet picks up the pace and increases the flame, but the album really shines when they imitate the grace of flickering candlelight.  Give a listen to “Chant” to get a sense of the album’s heartbeat.

Artist site | Listen | Buy: Amazon

*****

Kevin Hays – New Day (Sunnyside)

Kevin Hays - "New Day"Seriously personable release from vocalist-pianist Hays.  A real folksy charm to this electro-acoustic soul jazz session.  Melodies as welcoming as the morning sun, rhythms with a most delightful conversational delivery, and the kind of friendly music that broach serious subjects and still make everything okay.

Artist site | Listen | Buy: BandcampeMusicAmazon

*****

Manuel Valera Trio – Live at Firehouse 12 (Self-Produced)

Manuel Valera - "Live at Firehouse 12"Wonderful live set from the trio of pianist Valera, bassist Hans Glawischnig and drummer EJ Strickland.  Plenty evocative, with an inherent moodiness in each piece counterbalanced nicely by a lively rhythmic approach.  Sounds like one of those performances where everything comes together at exactly the right moment.

Artist site | Listen | Buy: eMusicCDBabyAmazon

*****

Keith Kelly Ask Not – A Grand Apparatus, Discarded (Edgetone)

Keith Kelly - "A Grand Apparatus"Saxophonist Kelly leads a quartet through a high voltage set of jazz-rock fusion.  Nifty how an undercurrent of melodicism rises to the surface before again submerging below the crazed intensity.  A sharp intelligence to this furious music.

Artist site | Listen | Buy: eMusicBandcampAmazon

*****

ZetZum Zorglub – ZetZum Zorglub (PG Sounds)

Zetzum Zorglub - "Zetzum Zorglub"Guitarist Buster Jensen’s mix of post-rock, Nordic Jazz and ambient minimalism is pretty damn captivating.  Electric distortion is balanced by contemplative piano phrasings, warm infusions of saxophone harmonies, and a careful attention to how one moment flows into the next.  A strange beauty to this one.

Artist site | Listen | Buy: eMusicAmazon

*****

Jakob Kühnemann Quartett – Contrejour (Unit Records)

Jakob Kuhnemann - "Contrejour"A nice easy-going lyricism to bassist Kuhnemann’s quartet session.  Music stays light on its feet, sometimes flirts with simply drifting away like a dream.  The subtleties and nuance resonate strongly, and shifts this music away from getting to be simply another straight-forward session.

Artist site | Buy: eMusicAmazon

*****

Antonio Sanchez – Three Times Three (CamJazz)

Antonio Sanchez - "Three Times Three"Wow, outstanding set from drummer Sanchez, who offers up three tunes each with three different trios.  With Brad Meldau & Matt Brewer, it’s deep melodicism.  With John Scofield & Christian McBride, it’s sharp precision.  And with Joe Lovano & John Patitucci, it’s effusive blues.  Go buy this right now.

Artist site | Buy:  Amazon

*****

Martin Auer Quintett – Our Kind Of… (Laika)

Martin Auer - "Our Kind Of"Trumpeter Auer’s quintet gives an intriguing take on the compositions of Kind of Blue.  Nothing straight-forward about the music, as the modern European sound gives a dreamy effect to familiar tunes.  Delightful how the melody sometimes pokes out its head and reveals itself.

Artist site | Buy: eMusicAmazon

*****

Jean Kapsa, Antoine Reininger & Maxime Fleau – La Ligne de Kármán (Mélisse)

Jean Kapsa - "La Ligne de Karman"Modern piano trio session that swims in the deep end of the melodies.  A sense of constant forward motion helps stretch the melodic development out to soaring heights and lets their final notes linger.  Piano, bass and drums all have plenty to contribute to the conversation.

Artist site | Buy: eMusicAmazon

*****

Julian Arguelles – Let It Be Told (Basho)

Julian Arguelles - "Let It Be Told"Saxophonist Arguelles’s arrangements of South African music is effusive and warm, and cheery melodies ride the whitecaps of rolling rhythms.  The Frankfurt Radio Big Band provides a fat sound that could fill any room, but when they grow contemplative, like on the Mongezi Feza composition “You Ain’t Gonna Know Me (Cos’ You Think You Know Me), the music resonates with a remarkable strength.  A likable recording that grows more likable with familiarity.

Artist site | Buy: eMusicAmazon

*****

Nicole – Raizes/Roots (Soundbrush)

Nicole - "Raizes-Roots"A bubbling personality to this recording that snaps together Judaic songs and Brazilian music.  Vocalist Nicole lends a casual ease to the tunes that’s rather charming.  The chatter from guitars, accordion and percussion is all kinds of friendly.

Artist site | Buy:  Amazon

*****

Triologos – Tracce di Canti (SLAM Productions)

Triologos - "Tracce di Canti"Interesting avant-garde session from this trio of saxophone, percussion and double bass.  Melodies are often frayed and warped and run from the sunlight, while the rhythms play a game of hopscotch that abides by its own rules of physics.  Strange music.

No artist site | Buy:  eMusicAmazon

*****

 

Have a great time digging through the list!

And remember, it’s simple:  You like what you like.

Cheers.

***


This Is Jazz Today: Jakob Bro, Anat Cohen, Giovanni Francesca & more!

March 21, 2015

 

BitW square avatarThis was a busy week.  I finally just had to call it quits, but I’m shaking my head and looking at the albums that I didn’t have time to include in this week’s column.  I might have to do a Part B addendum at some point.

But let’s talk about the albums that are included in this week’s This Is Jazz Today recommendations column.  There’s a very nice mix of sounds this week, really representing the depth and diversity of the modern scene.  One of those weeks where there really is something for everyone.

Let’s begin…

*** Pick of the Week ***

 

Jakob Bro – Gefion

Jakob Bro - "Gefion"A gorgeous new album from guitarist Jakob Bro, who has repeatedly shown a talent for bringing a melodic liveliness to serene music.  His newest features his strangely alluring mix of jazz and folk and ambient soundscapes.  And though it possesses the ingredients that typically complete your basic Nordic Jazz recording, Bro’s expressionism doesn’t fit so neatly into that general category.  Even when he’s being structurally obtuse, his music possesses a form and presence and melodic incisiveness that proves elusive to categorization.  His newest has him in a trio formation, joined by bassist Thomas Morgan and drummer Jon Christensen.  Just too beautiful.

Released on ECM Records.  Visit the artist site.

Read about other Bro albums | Buy: Amazon

*****

*** This week’s featured albums ***

 

Anat Cohen – Luminosa (Anzic)

Anat Cohen - "Luminosa"Each new recording by Cohen just further impresses how much feeling she’s able to generate from her clarinet.  Her newest focuses on Brazilian music, but some adventurous takes on music from other parts of the world, too.  I’ll be writing more about this excellent album in the coming weeks, but, seriously, don’t bother waiting… just go buy this album now.

Artist site | Listen | Buy:  eMusicBandcampAmazon

*****

Giovanni Francesca – Rame (Auand)

Giovanni Francesca - "Rame"Stunningly beautiful album from guitarist Francesca’s quintet.  His sound, with its effects and an instrumentation that includes both violin and trombone is strongly reminiscent of Bill Frisell’s Nonesuch years.  Sweetness and fire, both, on this one.  Expect to read more in the coming weeks on this site.

Artist site | Listen | Buy:  eMusicBandcampAmazon

*****

Pascal Schumacher – Left Tokyo Right (Laborie)

Pascal Schumacher - "Left Tokyo Right"Resonant new release from vibraphonist Schumacher.  The whole quartet shines, but especially so in the pairing of Schumacher and pianist Franz von Chossy.  Melodies as deep as the sea and just as enchanting.

Artist site | Listen | Buy:  eMusicAmazon

*****

Emanative – The Light Years of the Darkness (Brownswood)

Emanative - "The Light Years of the Darkness"Excellent large ensemble spiritual jazz performance.  Led by drummer-percussionist Emanative (the alias for Nick Woodmansey), they perform renditions of tunes by Alice Coltrane, Sun Ra, Pharoah Sanders and more.  Rich grooves and melodies as soft as a cool breeze in Summer.

Artist site | Listen | Buy:  BandcampeMusicAmazon

Read more about this album on Bird is the Worm (LINK).

*****

David Ake – Lake Effect (Posi-tone)

David Ake - "Lake Effect"Seriously expressive new set from pianist Ake’s quartet.  Switches between songs of a bubbling intensity and solo pieces as serene as a morning sunrise.  Benefiting the album greatly, Ake gives saxophonist Peter Epstein plenty of room to roll out his solos.

Artist site | Buy: eMusicAmazon

*****

E.J. Strickland Quintet – The Undying Spirit (Strick Muzik)

EJ Strickland - "The Undying Spirit"A graceful eloquence to this recording, which exhibits no hesitation to wear its heart on its sleeve.  Drummer Strickland leads a quintet of pro’s pros (Jaleel Shaw, Linda Oh, Luis Pedromo and brother Marcus) through a set of straight-ahead tunes.  Lots to like here, but “Midnight’s Clearing” is a song that’ll stick in your head long after the album is done playing.

Artist site | Buy: eMusicAmazon

*****

New Cool Collective – Electric Monkey Sessions (Dox)

New Cool Collective - "Electric Monkey Sessions"Benjamin Herman’s ensemble expands on their 70s psych-trip-jazz niche.  Going deep with their rhythmic approaches add an interesting new facet to their melodically rich sound, especially the Senegalese influences.  Fun music with some cool grooves.

Artist site | Listen | Buy:  eMusicBandcampAmazon

*****

Doug Webb – Triple Play (Posi-tone)

Doug Webb - "Triple Play"Nifty straight-ahead set from tenor saxophonist Webb.  Triple tenor sax line-up (along w/Walt Weiskopf & Joel Frahm) emits an abundance of heat.  Balanced out nicely by the thick grooves of organist Brian Charette and drummer Rudy Royston.

Artist site | Buy: eMusicAmazon

*****

Glenn Zaleski – My Ideal (Sunnyside)

Glenn Zaleski - "My Ideal"Nice straight-ahead piano trio set.  Whether kicking up some dust with an up-tempo piece or slipping into a ballad, Zaleski’s crew gets a nice chatter going.  Guest Ravi Coltrane is a good indication that Zaleski’s next recording should include a full-time saxophonist.

Artist site | Listen | Buy:  eMusicBandcampAmazon

*****

Courtney Pine – Song (The Ballad Book) (Destin-E)

Courtney Pine - "Song (The Ballad Book)"Gorgeous duet album with saxophonist Pine and pianist Zoe Rahman.  Sublime takes on standards and new school tunes.  Solemn as a Sunday morning when the whole world is at peace.

Artist site | Buy: eMusicAmazon

*****

Nordic Circles – Winter Rainbow (AMP Music)

Nordic Circles - "Winter Rainbow"Nice modern straight-ahead set.  Despite their name, this quintet more often sounds closer to NYC than ECM.  Nothing new, just music with a sunny atmosphere and occasional melancholy clouds.

No artist site | No listen | Buy: Amazon

*****

 

Have a great time digging through the list!

And remember, it’s simple:  You like what you like.

Cheers.

***


This Is Jazz Today (Part I): Fresh Cut Orchestra, Alban Darche Stringed, Nordmann and more!

February 19, 2015

 

BitW square avatarI couldn’t figure out why there were so many scheduled releases set for February 17th, and then it struck me… that’s my birthday.  Aw shucks, Jazz People, you shouldn’t have.  No, really, don’t do that again.  I couldn’t even celebrate my birthday because of all the new albums to go through.

About those new albums… I had to split this week’s This Is Jazz Today column into two parts.  Today is Part One and tomorrow is Part Two.  Conveniently, each day will feature one of the two co-Picks of the Week.  And the Featured Five will now become the Featured Six, so that I can have an equal number of them each day.  Twenty recommendations in all, ten per day.  And quite frankly, there were more than two recordings that had a strong claim to earn the top spot.  Damn, this was a strong week.  So, I split it in two.

Have I made this more complicated than it needed be?  Probably.  Couldn’t I just have loaded up a ton of recommendations in one single column like I have so many other times before?  Well, you make a good point.  Am I going to persist in delaying the discovery of great new music by allowing this intro to continue endlessly?  Oh, hey, yeah, sorry about that…

Let’s begin…

 

*** The Featured Three ***

 

Fresh Cut Orchestra – From the Vine

Fresh Cut Orchestra - "From the Vine"Considering how the Fresh Cut Orchestra is comprised of bandleaders drawn from a diverse group of projects, From the Vine displays an impressive solidarity.  Yes, the varied influences are all there and show their faces throughout this debut, providing the album with depth and substance to back up its engaging personality.

Read more about why I recommend this album… (LINK).

co-Pick of the Week.

Released on Ropedope Records.  Visit the artist site.

More listening | Buy: BandcampAmazoneMusic

*****

Alban Darche Stringed – L’Horloge

Alban Darche - "L'Horloge"Saxophonist Alban Darche creates curiously beautiful music.  There’s something supremely enchanting about his work, even if it’s often difficult to explain why.  His music is typically unconventional and downright strange, so it’s interesting to hear him partner up with a quintet of stringed instruments.  It definitely puts his haunting melodies and acrobatic solos in a new light.  I’ve got a pretty decent draft going that documents his various projects.  For now, dig into his newest.

Released on Cristal Records.  Visit the artist site.

More listening | Buy: Amazon

*****

Nordmann – Alarm!

Nordmann - "Alarm!"A very fun and absorbing session from the Nordmann quartet, who dish out the rock as often as they do jazz.  When sax speaks, it often does so in a clipped language, with a brevity that doesn’t diminish its melodic strength.  The guitar sometimes roars aloud, but is more effective when threading thin lines of melody and rhythm both.  The bass & drums duo drive things along plenty, but it’s their playfulness with tempo when they emerge at their strongest.  Good stuff.

Released on W.E.R.F. Records. Visit the artist site.

More listening | Buy: eMusicAmazon

*****

*** And seven more ***

 

Duchess – Duchess (Anzic)

Duchess - "Duchess"Fun recording from the vocal trio of Amy Cervini, Hilary Gardner and Melissa Stylianou.  Backed by a quintet of pro’s pros, the ladies swing while they sing.  All the warmth of a friendly embrace, all the fun of a day spent with good friends.

Artist site | Buy: BandcampAmazon

*****

John Stowell-Michael Zilber Quartet – Live Beauty (Origin)

Stowell, Zilber - "Live Beauty"Nice live set from a sax-guitar-bass-drums quartet.  Zilber’s effusive attitude on sax matches well with Stowell’s tastefulness on guitar.  Plenty to like on this straight-ahead modern jazz session.

Artist site | Buy: Amazon

*****

PLS Trio – East River (Echo Chamber)

PLS Trio - "East River"Piano trio that doesn’t hold back on the electric instruments or their effects.  None of the songs possess much gravitas, but the trio knows how to shape some seriously pretty melodies.  Lots of catchy tunes and easy to like.

Artist site | Listen | Buy: Bandcamp  eMusic  CDBaby  Amazon

*****

Lucas Pino – No Net Nonet (Origin)

Lucas Pino - "No Net Nonet"Nice straight-ahead set from saxophonist Pino.  His nonet attains a strong head of steam and doesn’t relinquish it.  Best is just sitting back and listening to their flight patterns.

Artist site | Buy: Amazon

*****

Andrew Drury – Content Provider (Self-Produced)

Andrew Drury - "Content Provider"This is not an album; it’s a fist.  It pummels the listener until they begin to like the beating.  From the pain of dissonance comes a strangely appealing tunefulness and groove.

Artist site | Listen | Buy: Bandcamp

*****

Lage Lund – Idlewild (Criss Cross)

Lage Lund - "Idlewild"The shimmering effect guitarist Lund gives to straight-ahead modern jazz provides it with some differentiation that goes a long way.  Trio session scoots right along at times, but it’s the peaceful moments that hold sway.  Excellent stuff.

Artist site | Buy: Amazon

*****

Charles McPherson – The Journey (Capri)

Charles McPherson - "The Journey"Solid straight-ahead quintet session from the jazz veteran.  McPherson’s alto sax matched up with a tenorman provides both harmonic depth and some fun when they trade fire during solos.  Those who aren’t so much for the modern scene, this one will fit like a glove.

Artist site | Buy: Amazon

*****

Have a great time digging through the list!

And remember, it’s simple:  You like what you like.

Cheers.

*****

And be sure to check back in tomorrow for PART II of this week’s This Is Jazz Today

(LINK)

*****


This Is Jazz Today: Matana Roberts, Caterina Palazzi Sudoku Killer, Daniel Rosenboom & more!

February 5, 2015

 

BitW square avatarSo here we are.  As you (hopefully) read in a previous column, my run on eMusic & Wondering Sound is now over.  You can read about what’s what, here, w/this LINK.  For the time being, as I search for a new home for my weekly jazz recommendations column, I’ll be posting the recs on Bird is the Worm.

About those recommendations…

So, we’re seeing the first real signs that the 2015 new release schedule is getting under way.  Today’s recommendations, in a rare instance, fall primarily in one of two camps- the innovative avant-garde and the straight-aheads that keep closer to jazz center.  That said, there’s plenty of differentiation between the residents of those respective categories, so make no assumptions and listen closely, because there’s some excellent music to be discovered in today’s list.

Let’s begin…

 

*** The Featured Five ***

 

Matana Roberts – Coin Coin Chapter Three: River Run Thee

Matana Roberts - "Coin Coin Chapter Three River Run Thee"Just stunning.  The third volume of Matana RobertsCoin Coin series is no less compelling than its counterparts while diverging from the previous two in striking ways.  Still in place is Roberts’ self-described method of “panoramic sound quilting,” an apt phrase both from a sonic experience & production standpoint, but also in the way, like a quilt, she brings past and present together, rendering them simultaneously indistinguishable and distinct from one another, united.  This one is a solo project, and she weaves together layer after layer of saxophone, singing and spoken word, electronic drones, ornamental effects, and field recordings.  It’s one long uninterrupted piece and it’s an immersive experience.  Perhaps most fascinating is that the music possesses a massively hypnotic quality, since, by all means and measures, this same music is very awake.

Pick of the Week.

Released on Constellation Records.  Visit the artist site.

More listening | Buy: eMusicAmazon

*****

Caterina Palazzi Sudoku Killer – Infanticide

Caterina Palazzi Sudoku Killer - "Infanticide"Heavy drama from bassist Palazzi’s quartet, Sudoku Killer.  Strong infusions of avant-rock mainlined into their edgy form of modern jazz.  But amongst the jarring dissonance and streaks of highly charged electricity are sweetly spoken melodies.  It’s a serious kind of theater.  The remainder of the quartet consists of guitarist Giacomo Ancillotto, saxophonist Antonio Raia and drummer Maurizio Chiavaro.

Released on Auand Records.  Visit the artist site.

More listening | Buy: eMusicAmazon

*****

Mike Fletcher Trio – Vuelta

Nifty straight-ahead saxophone trio.  On C-melody sax, Mike Fletcher develops an appealing spring to his step, and between his instrument’s dancing motion and the amicable patter of bassist Olie Brice and drummer Jeff Williams, the trio attains a comforting susurrus.  This, in addition to Fletcher’s easy-going lyricism makes this one a winner.  An easy one to connect with.

Released on Stoney Lane Records.  Visit the artist site.

More listening | Buy:  eMusicAmazon

*****

Jean-Michel Pilc – What Is This Thing Called?

Jean-Michel Pilc - "What Is This Thing Called?"A seriously absorbing solo set from pianist Jean-Michel Pilc, who casts a myriad of reflections off the classic gem, Cole Porter’s “What Is This Thing Called Love?”  More vignettes than songs, most of the album’s 31 tracks don’t go over two minutes in length.  But in those brief moments… (read more about why I recommend this album- LINK).

Released on Sunnyside Records.  Visit the artist site.

More listening | Buy: eMusic | Bandcamp | Amazon

*****

Marius Neset – Pinball

Marius Neset - "Pinball"Heavy emphasis on the lyrical qualities for the newest by saxophonist Marius Neset.  He leads a quintet comprised of all-stars from the UK scene (Ivo Neame, Jim Hart, Petter Eldh and Anton Eger), plus guests on strings, flute and percussion.  As far as emotional impact, Neset doesn’t hold back on the melodies; this is especially effective when the ensemble lays off the gas pedal.  The song “Music for Cello and Saxophone” is worth the price of admission alone, though there are several moments that statement could apply to.

Released on ACT Music.  Visit the artist site.

Buy: Amazon

*****

*** And Seven More ***

 

Daniel Rosenboom – Astral Transference & Seven Dreams (Orenda)

Daniel Rosenboom - "Astral Transference"Fierce and combustible, trumpeter Rosenboom holds nothing back.  The occasional shifts into a straight-ahead jazz sound are almost startling.  When melody becomes the focus, the results are sweetly heartbreaking.

Artist site | Listen | Buy: BandcampeMusicAmazon

*****

Henry Kaiser & Ray Russell – The Celestial Squid (Cuneiform)

Kaiser, Russell - "The Celestial Squid"The veteran guitarists show how deftly they can mold varied genres into something that sounds nothing like any of them.  Avant-garde music that grabs the ear tight whether a torrent or in a graceful tailspin.  No shortage of personality on this one.

Artist site & Artist site | Buy: BandcampAmazon

*****

Ernesto Cervini – Turboprop (Anzic)

Ernesto Cervini - "Turboprop"An album that flits between old- and new-school jazz.  Aggressive conversational style, which makes for some engaging music.  When the ensemble displays a quirky behavior is when it’s at its strongest.

Artist site | Listen | Buy: BandcampeMusicAmazon

*****

Jaromir Honzák – Uncertainty (Animal Music)

Jaromír Honzák - "Uncertainty"Nice moody ambiance by Honzák’s quintet, even when they raise the temperature.  Patient expressions pay off with big resonance.  When bass clarinet enters the song, it steals the show.

Artist site | Buy: eMusicAmazon

*****

Cabbages, Captain & King – Cabbages, Captain & King (Edgetone)

Cabbages, Captain & King - "Cabbages, Captain & King"A rather charming personality to this free improv session.  Piano, drums & guitar each take a playful approach to their rhythmic capacities.  Bursts of tunefulness coalesce from long disassembled passages.

Buy:  BandcampeMusicAmazon

*****

Vincent Peirani – Living Being (ACT Music)

Vincent Peirani - "Living Being"A very cool electronic jazz release from accordionist Peirani.  Harmonically soothing, melodically whimsical, rhythmically congenial.  For something pretty different, this album really is quite catchy.

Artist site | Buy: Amazon

*****

Harmony of the Spheres – Harmony of the Spheres (V-Records)

Harmony of the Spheres - "Harmony of the Spheres"Quartet of trumpet, guitar, bass and drums emits a strong warmth from a modern straight-ahead sound.  Occasional breaks into prog-y jazz-fusion are a welcome diversion.  Likable, to be sure.

Artist site | Listen | Not available: Amazon, eMusic, CDBaby, Bandcamp

*****

 

Have a great time digging through the list!

And remember, it’s simple:  You like what you like.

Cheers.

 


Micro-Recs: Avishai Cohen, Underpool Collective & Trio of Justice

November 30, 2014

Sunday edition of Micro-Recs!

Featuring:  Avishai Cohen’s Triveni Dark Nights, Underpool Collective Underpool 3, and Trio of Justice Pookie’s March.

*****

 

Avishai Cohen’s Triveni – Dark Nights

Avishai Cohen - "Dark Nights"I’m fascinated with how these Triveni recordings can be so unassuming and intimate, yet still resonate powerfully.  The trio of trumpeter Avishai Cohen, bassist Omer Avital and drummer Nasheet Waits return for another go at an in-the-moment spontaneous session of covers and originals.  A rendition of Mingus’s “Goodbye Porkpie Hat” is a highlight, both in the way it emotes with a hard strength and delivers with a casual looseness.  Anat Cohen guests on clarinet, because, really, why wouldn’t you have Anat Cohen play clarinet on your recording?  Also, a haunting rendition of Chet Baker’s “I Fall In Love Too Easily,” featuring Cohen, pianist Gerald Clayton and vocalist Keren Ann, ends the album on a very strong note.

Released on Anzic Records.

Available at:  eMusic | Bandcamp | Amazon CD | Amazon MP3

*****

 

Underpool Collective – Underpool 3

Underpool 3Underpool is a performance space and label that provides a creative incubation center for jazz artists from the Barcelona scene… not unlike the role Smalls has played in NYC over the years.  This is the third album released by the musicians associated with Underpool, and it is just as wonderful as the two previous.  And though the personnel of the Underpool Collective change from album to album, the linchpin of the music has always been modern jazz that recognizes the essential nature of the blues and isn’t afraid to swing when the moment calls for it.  The way in which the ensemble transitions “Galiana’s Mood” from a game of tempo playfulness to a melodic excursion and then back again is a nice example of how they manipulate the little things to achieve a big effect.  And “The Question from Galiana” illustrates that the playful manipulation extends to gorgeous interweaving of harmony and melody.  I highly recommend all three of the Collective’s recordings.  This particular session features trumpeter Pol Pedros, alto saxophonist Noe Escola, tenor saxophonist Albert Cicera, guitarist Raj Paz, bassist Paco Weht and drummer Ildefons Alonso.

Released on the Underpool label.

Available at:  eMusic | Bandcamp | Amazon MP3

*****

 

Trio of Justice – Pookie’s March

Trio of Justice - "Pookie's March"Very cool set from the trio of trombonist Reggie Pace, drummer & percussionist Devonne Harris and tubist Reginald Chapman, who mixes in some bass trombone, too.  Some disparate influences inform the music, but the spirit of the performance is right out a New Orleans Mardi Gras second line.  Twin towers of soulfulness and rhythmic exuberance mark these songs to where even a mournful-toned song like “True Independence” sounds like a celebration.  The album’s “bonus track” is a 26-minute set from a live performance with trumpeter Marcus Tenney sitting in.  Pure fun.

Released on Jellowstone Records.

Available at:  eMusic | Bandcamp | Amazon MP3

 

*****

Note:  Micro-recs (or micro-recommendations) used to be called Tiny Reviews.  I switched the name because, really, they weren’t reviews, but simply synopses with a recommendation to purchase.  I feel like calling them recs is more accurate.  That’s how it will be going forward.

*****

Some of this material was used originally in the weekly new jazz releases column I write for eMusic and Wondering Sound, so here’s some language protecting their rights to the reprinted material as the one to hire me to write about new jazz recordings…

New Arrivals Jazz Picks,” reprints courtesy of eMusic.com, Inc.
© 2014  eMusic.com, Inc.

As always, my sincere thanks to eMusic for the gig.