Bassist Anders Jormin is, perhaps, best known for his collaborations with Bobo Stenson and Charles Lloyd, though he’s also put out a decent set of music under his own name. If you browse through the ECM catalog at any length, chances are, you’re gonna see Anders’ name listed amongst the credits of many good albums. His brother Christian Jormin is also part of the Scandinavian scene, working that same peaceful quasi-jazz sound. Of course, both brothers joined Mats Gustafsson on the Ornette Coleman tribute album Opus Apus, so it’s not like they can’t jack up the voltage on their music.
But that’s not what their new release Provenance is about. This duo collaboration between the brothers Jormin is about quiet music for quiet rooms. Tracks like “And Yet, I Wish You Well,” with its murmurs of bass arco, the rustle of percussion, and the solace of thoughtful, comforting words from piano, and “Laid on Straw,” with its bubbly cheerfulness expressed with a modicum of restraint or “Herding Song,” which takes a melancholy turn, these are the tones that represent the heart of this album.
A few tracks like “Bismillah” and “Villages and Rivers” dig into some upbeat material, but for the most part, this is an album of music that pairs well with sunrises on lazy Sunday mornings… solemn music that respects the silence sacrificed in order to give it a listen.
Your album personnel: Anders Jormin (acoustic bass) and Christian Jormin (piano, percussion)
Tiny Reviews, featuring: Max JohnsonQuartet, Partyka BrassThe Day After Christmas, Irene Scardia Risveglia, Florian Pellissier Quintet Le Diable et Son, Pow WowWop n’ Wow
Max Johnson – Quartet
Debut album from bassist Max Johnson as session leader, though not new to the scene at all. Plenty of dissonance, spastic rhythms, bending and twisting of notes, and the occasional interludes of lullaby warmth. Though free jazz can often be sort of prickly when it comes to first date hugs, Quartet is nuanced in a way that makes it embraceable on the initial listen. I think it gets too often accepted that a free jazz album won’t be accessible music, but Johnson proves that wrong here, and he does a nice job of reminding us of the bass’s possibilities without letting the album become a classroom exercise. Also, fine taste in collaborators.
Your album personnel: Max Johnson (bass), Mark Whitecage (alto sax, clarinet), Steve Swell (trombone), and Tyshawn Sorey (drums).
Known by some of you as the group that recorded a holiday album with Carla Bley, Ed Partyka‘s septet returns with another holiday themed album. Day After, however, doesn’t result in traditional holiday tunes (aside from album closer “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town”). It’s a set of sometimes haunting, sometimes sublime tunes that accentuate the delicacy of the instruments, rather than their inherent boisterousness.
Your album personnel: Ed Partyka (bass trombone, tuba), Adrian Mears (trombone), Johannes Lauer (trombone), Christine Chapman (French horn), Axel Schlosser (trumpet), Bill Forman (trumpet), and Tobias Weidinger (trumpet).
Peaceful piano album, trio format with soprano sax and bass. Piano is definitely the spotlight instrument, with sax and bass adding support. Bass is more often bowed than not, which adds a delicious tension to songs, and the sax parts are flighty and light, and bring a sublime beauty to the album. Very nice recording.
Your album personnel: Irene Scardia (piano), Emanuele Coluccia (sax), and Luca Alemanno (bass).
Released on the Workin’ label. Jazz from the Lecce, Italy scene.
Easy-going hard bop date from the Florian Pellissier Quintet. Some modern jazz flourishes, but its obvious that their hearts pine for the jazz of the sixties, especially music like the Herbie Hancock Blue Notes. Should appeal to new- and old-schoolers alike.
Your album personnel: Florian Pellissier (piano), Yoann Loustalot (trumpet), Christophe Panzani (sax), David Georgelet (drums), and Yoni Zelnik (bass).
The album is Self-Produced. Jazz from the Paris scene.
Swedish outfit that plays moody avant-garde. More of a melodic focus than a rhythmic one. This is still pretty accessible, and if you like the introspective Nordic jazz sound, this album is just a ramped up and deconstructed version of it. The group has been around since 1975. Quality musicianship. Probably the kind of album that gets better with repeat listens.
Your album personnel: Björn Almgren (sax), Ingemar Landén (drums), Kjell Thorbjörnson (double bass), and Jonny Wartel (tenor sax).
Portions of the reviews were originally used in my Jazz Picks weekly article for eMusic, so here’s some language protecting their rights to that reprinted material as the one to hire me to write about new jazz arrivals to their site…
Tiny Reviews, featuring: Anders Hagberg Quartet Stories of Now, Carmen LundyChanges, Charles GayleStreets, and October TrioNew Dream.
Anders Hagberg Quartet – Stories of Now
Really intriguing release by Anders Haberg, who in addition to soprano saxophone, also plays a variety of flutes (C flute, bass and contrabass flutes, matusi and harmonic flutes). The quartet is rounded out with piano, bass, and drums. It’s an alluring set of jazz compositions that sound influenced by the folk music of his native Sweden. Quite pretty, introspective without getting sleepy, though some of the world jazz sounding tracks definitely have some punch to them. ECM fans should probably check this album out.
Your album personnel: Anders Hagberg (vocals, flute, bass flute, contrabass flute, soprano saxophone, reed organ, Jew’s harp); Johannes Lundberg (vocals, double bass); Joona Toivanen (grand piano), and Goran Kroon (glockenspiel, drums, percussion).
Can’t let this week of Jazz Picks go and not mention that jazz diamond Carmen Lundy has a new release out. A set of originals (and one cover). Backing Lundy’s vocals include mainstays Anthony Wonsey (piano), Kenny Davis (bass), and Jamison Ross (drums). If you like jazz vocals, just hit the download button and don’t look back. If jazz vocals aren’t typically your thing, you owe it to yourself to give Lundy a listen; Lundy has plenty of talent and jazz cred and shouldn’t be dismissed. Addition of guests on trombone, flugel, and trumpet are a nice touch.
Guest appearances by: Oscar Castro-Neves (guitar), Nolan Shaheed (trumpet & flugelhorn), and George Bohanon (trombone).
Charles Gayle is back, and he hasn’t lost any bit of ferocity with age. On tenor sax, and joined by Larry Roland (double bass) and Michael TA Thompson (drums), it’s a great set of free jazz, sounding both new and New Thing. If you like your jazz free and fiery, just hit the download button. Gayle is a vet of the scene, having played with the seminal artists of the avant-garde scene, and it’s great to see him out with a new recording. Released on the Northern Spy label, staffed by former members of the ESP label, and musician run; a promising release from these guys. Recommended.
Interesting album. A cyclical twist and crunch and twist again… washing machine jazz; hypnotic in repetition and broken by unexpected jolts of motion. Opening track “1983” is the kind of tune that draws a listener right in. On New Dream, October Trio clearly has an album vision, and the variation of sound throughout is as if they attempt to describe that vision in a different language with each tune. Some moments of a conventional modern jazz sound, some moments that border on free, some that grab hold of a world jazz fusion, etc etc. It’s one of those albums that might not be love at first sight, but which repeat listenings could bring a strong connection. Some music is like that. That’s how this album played out for me. The more time passes, the more often I get this album in the stereo.
Your album personnel: Evan Arntzen (tenor & soprano sax, clarinet), Dan Gaucher (drums), and Josh Cole (bass).