Mar 5 2015
Well all right, the This Is Jazz Today column is back! After a desperately needed week away from music and writing, I’ve got a fresh new batch of recommendations for you today. Now, this list reflects only the past week of new releases. I will almost certainly be posting some sort of make-up column for those new releases that dropped during my hiatus the week prior.
But for now, start digging through the newest gems to surface in the Jazz section of the internet.
*** Pick of the Week ***
Chris Lightcap’s Bigmouth – Epicenter
There’s an anthemic nature to much of Chris Lightcap‘s style of modern jazz. This is true whether he adopts a straight-ahead sound that bops right along or goes with something that toes the line separating jazz from other genres. That continues on his newest, where the all-star bassist deftly combines oddball meters, conventional song structures and stunning melodic washes. Epicenter is one of the best things to come out, thus far, in 2015. At year end, I expect to be saying much the same. Pretty soon, I’ll be writing more about this album and his previous recording, Deluxe. In the meantime, just start listening.
*** This week’s featured albums ***
Kenosha Kid – Inside Voices (Self-Produced)
Basic building blocks of a strong melody, thick harmonies and a well-lit rhythmic path lead to a texturally rich offering. Development of album as intriguing as individual songs. Excellent example of modern jazz-indie rock mix.
Read more about this album on Bird is the Worm (LINK).
Albert “Tootie” Heath – Philadelphia Beat (Sunnyside)
Excellent set from jazz legend Heath in a trio with modern heroes Ethan Iverson & Ben Street. Nifty generational balance between old-school and new-school straight-ahead styles. Cheerful music with a sharp wit… oh hell yes.
Till Martin Quintet – The Gardener (Unit Records)
Saxophonist Martin’s quintet weaves an album of supreme gorgeousness. Addition of cello and viola allows transition between an icy elegance and soft warmth. Perfect amount of edge to complement the comforting, serene beauty.
James Falzone’s Renga Ensemble – The Room Is (Allos Documents)
Falzone’s sextet of clarinets and saxophones possesses a lexicon equally adept at enchantment and debate. Modulations between sweet harmonies and acerbic dissonance performed with an appealing care and patience. A friggin’ all-star line-up of reedists on this one.
Skydive Trio – Sun Moee (Hubro)
Jeremy Danneman – Lady Boom Boom (Ropeadope)
An album that sets equal importance to kicking back in the shade as it does getting out on the dance floor. Saxophonist Danneman’s debut bleeds all kinds of personality and more than a little bit of fun. Charming and exuberant.
Syberen van Munster – Plunge for Distance (Self-Produced)
When this quintet moves at a brisk pace, the music has an appealing pop-music catchiness. And when sax & accordion combine to influence the proceedings, the result is a haunting beauty. Guitarist van Munster strikes a nice balance on this solid debut recording.
Download a free album track at the artist’s Soundcloud page.
Spin Marvel – Infolding (Rare Noise)
Space-age jazz electronica fusion. Heavy atmospherics from the live electronic effects and Nils Petter Molvaer’s trumpet create an intoxicating ambiance. Rhythm section provides the necessary thump and drive to balance things out.
Mike Ievtushenko Trio – Prayer (Barnette Records)
No artist site | Buy: eMusic
Ifa y Xango – Twice Left Handed\\Shavings (El Negocito)
Interesting mix of dissonance and drone from this ensemble of wind instruments, guitars, keyboards and electronic effects. Even when it growls, there’s a comforting nature to the music. Something different.
Yvonnick Prene & Pasquale Grasso – Merci Toots (Self-Produced)
Free Nelson Mandoomjazz – Awakening of a Capital (Rare Noise)
Muriel Grossmann – Earth Tones (Self-Produced)
Don Aliquo/Clay Jenkins Quintet – New Ties & Binds (Self-Produced)
Artist site | Buy: No known retail options
Jason Seizer – Cinema Paradiso (Pirouet)
Chantale Gagne – The Left Side of the Moon (Self-Produced)
Enjoyable set from pianist Gagne, backed by a quartet of pro’s pros (Lewis Nash, Steve Wilson & Peter Washington). Nothing fancy, just solid straight-ahead jazz. A little swing, a little bop, plenty of soul.
Have a great time digging through the list!
And remember, it’s simple: You like what you like.