This Is Jazz Today: Catfish, Vincent Courtois, Steve Coleman & more!

 

BitW square avatarIt’s only natural that things would get dialed down a bit after the huge drop of excellent new releases last week.  Our current batch, however, has plenty of gems, many of them refreshingly understated.  Aside from our Pick of the Week, none really knocked me on my ass… but over time, my appreciation and enthusiasm for many of these new albums continued to grow.  All said, I’ve dug up plenty to keep your ears busy and happy for yet another week.

Let’s begin…

*** Pick of the Week ***

 

Catfish – Restraint

Catfish - "Restraint"Absolutely gorgeous mix of modern jazz and contemporary classical.  The core trio of tenor saxophonist Joe Cunningham, guitarist Dan Duval and drummer Ken Ollis are joined by a number of guests on strings, wind instruments and piano for a fascinating mix of melodic fragments and improvisational bursts.  Some breathtaking moments on this one.

Released on PJCE.

More listening | Buy: Bandcamp

*****

*** This week’s featured albums ***

 

Vincent Courtois – West (La Buissonne)

Vincent Courtois - "West"Absolutely captivating chamber jazz session from cellist Courtois, who brings in guest tenor saxophonist Daniel Erdmann, multi-reedist Robin Fincker and pianist Benjamin Moussay on a handful of tracks.  Peaceful music that flashes some sharp teeth from time to time.  Sublime music that exudes a multifaceted character.

Artist site | Listen | Buy:  BandcampeMusicAmazon

*****

Steve Coleman & the Council of Balance – Synovial Joints (PI Recordings)

Steve Coleman - "Synovial Joints"A really intriguing flow to the new one by alto saxophonist Coleman.  His large ensemble creates an almost hypnotic tempo with punctuated bursts of rhythm from both the percussion unit and wind instruments, which is occasionally swept away by warm harmonies from the string section… approaching something almost cathartic.  Time and again, Coleman offers up works with a keen intelligence.

Artist site | Buy:  Amazon

*****

4mament – Aufbruch (Unit Records)

4mament - "Aufbruch"This sax, piano, bass & drums quartet has an engrossing storyteller’s approach.  Modern jazz that adopts some traits of indie rock without ever straying too deep into the foreign territory.  Lively tunes are nicely expressive, but the moodier pieces really resonate strongly.

Artist site | Listen | Buy:  eMusicAmazon

*****

Christoph Pepe Auer – Songs I Like (Session Work)

Christoph Pepe Auer - "Songs I Like"Mesmerizing set from multi-reedist Auer, whose music embraces both the soothing ambiance of a drone and the lively chatter of hushed conversations.  Strings, accordion, hurdy gurdy, drums and electronics join him on this set.  A neat personality to this one.

Artist site | Buy:  eMusicAmazon

*****

Tom Tallitsch – All Together Now (Posi-Tone)

Tom Tallitsch - "All Together Now"Strong blues influence on this personable recording from tenor saxophonist Tallitsch.  With one half of the sextet’s slots taken up by wind instruments, there’s plenty of warmth from harmonies, plenty of heat from solos.  A nifty cover of Zappa’s “Uncle Remus” fits right in with the solid originals.

Artist site | Buy:  eMusicAmazon

*****

Theo Jackson – Shoeless & The Girl (Dot Time)

Theo Jackson - "Shoeless and the Girl"Strong imagery generated by vocalist-pianist Jackson’s trio.  A substantive charm to this music, reminiscent, actually, of the way Lyle Lovett can generate both whimsy and profound depth with the turn of a phrase.  Guest saxophone and flugelhorn are a nice touch, and add some welcome texture.

Artist site | Buy:  eMusicAmazon

*****

Hugo Fernandez – Cosmogram (Origin)

Hugo Fernandez - "Cosmogram"Enjoyable how guitarist Fernandez balances an incisive lyricism with a breezy delivery.  Modern post-bop style that fits in well with the Origin label and the Pacific-Northwest sound.  The quartet of sax, guitar, bass and drums creates rainy day music that emits plenty of warmth and plenty of liveliness to boot.

Artist site | Buy:  eMusicAmazon

*****

Duplex – Én (Norcd)

Duplex - "En"A solemn tone to this laid-back Sunday morning music.  The duo of saxophonist Harald Lassen and bassist Christian Meaas Svendsen lay the peacefulness on thick while letting a quirky personality slip out to keep things interesting.  Pretty music made prettier by bringing in a couple guests on strings.

Artist site | Listen | Buy:  eMusicAmazon

*****

Barney McClure – Show Me! (Origin)

Barney McClure - "Show Me"Awfully fun recording that matches McClure’s Hammond B3 organ with the Central Washington University Jazz Band.  Plenty of enthusiastic playing, and it’s pretty neat hearing how the B3 bounces around the environment of a traditional big band.  It’s like watching a raft try to navigate the rapids of a roaring river.

Artist site | Buy:  eMusicAmazon

*****

Yelena Eckemoff – Lions (L&H Production)

Yelena Eckemoff - "Lions"Enjoyable trio session from pianist Eckemoff, bassist Arild Anderson and drummer Billy Hart.  Falls right in line with previous Eckemoff recordings… straight-ahead piano jazz that values elegance but gets in a burst of effusive warmth now and again.  Easy to like.

Artist site | Buy:  eMusicAmazon

*****

Vince – A Story About (Unit Records)

Vince - "A Story About"Nice mix of moodiness and tunefulness from this quartet of sax, guitar, drums and bass.  Definitely some post-rock influence in the mix, but then there are tracks that show a willingness to bop right along.  When the quartet gets introspective is when the music shines.

Artist site | Buy:  eMusicAmazon

*****

Enrico Pieranunzi & Federico Casagrande – Double Circle (CamJazz)

Pieranunzi Casagrande - "Double Circle"Personable duo collaboration between pianist Pieranunzi and guitarist Casagrande.  Piano and acoustic guitar make for an intimate affair.  Nice mix of folksy charm and contemplative tranquility.

Artist site | Buy:  eMusicAmazon

*****

Frank Carlberg & Leo Genovese – Shadows and Reflections (Red Piano Records)

Carlberg, Genovese - "Shadows and Reflections"Duo set from Carlberg & Genovese utilizes piano, Rhodes, farfisa and organ between the two for an intriguingly relaxed session of Monk tunes and originals (plus one Cuchi tune).  Occasionally a simmering intensity, but more often than not, the music’s stoned disposition allows notes to hang in the air for an alluring effect.  Strangely engaging.

Artist site | Buy:  CDBabyAmazon

*****

 

Have a great time digging through the list!

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

Cheers.

***