Tiny Reviews: Rebecca Trescher, Robert Glasper, Matthew Shipp, & Johnathan Blake

Tiny Reviews, featuring Rebecca Trescher’s Hochzeit Null11 Sud, Robert Glasper Black Radio, Matthew Shipp Elastic Aspects, and Johnathan Blake The Eleventh Hour.

Let’s begin…


Rebecca Trescher’s Hochzeit Null11 – Sud

Rebecca Trescher - "Sud"Multi-reedist Rebecca Trescher has created an album that doesn’t engage the listener so much as stalk them. Ominous, yet beautiful in that way fear can be, it’s an album of momentary spurts of notes with just clarinet and bass clarinet weaving sounds in between.  It creates a heavy mood, even when the music is light as a feather.  Songs like “Nass,” with its languid sway and gentle moan, I could listen to forever.  Some small effects here and there. Fans of Marty Ehrlich, Clean Feed label, and John Lurie/Lounge Lizards should check out this excellent album.  Plenty of ambiance throughout… a smoky shadowy tavern, light filtering in through smudged windows, a shot of whiskey, a heart full of heartbreak, and a sublime happiness whenever the warm touch of the Spring breeze drifts through the bar and makes everyone happy to be alive.  That kind of thing.

Your album personnel:  Rebecca Trescher (clarinet, bass clarinet), Julian Bossert (alto sax, clarinet), Phillip Staffa (guitar), Frederick Betz (bass), and Tilman Herpichbohm (drums).

Released on the Metropol Musik label.  Jazz from the Nuremberg, Germany scene.

Available on eMusic.


Robert Glasper – Black Radio

Robert Glasper garnered a lot of attention and cross-genre love for his album In My Element, which aside from being an outstanding jazz album, challenged boundaries by doing a mash-up of Radiohead and Herbie Hancock tunes, as well as a shout-out to J. Dilla.  With subsequent albums, Glasper has moved further into soul and hip hop territory, which hasn’t always been greeted with resounding enthusiasm in jazz circles.  Black Gold continues that journey, as it lays on the soul and hip hop influences even stronger. The thing of it is, Glasper is a strong pianist, and this is evidenced ever more clearly as he moves further from Jazz’s center; Glasper’s grasp of the heart of jazz is such that he doesn’t so much expand into new music territory as he forces that territory to gravitate to him.  If Jazz is the Mountain, then Glasper makes that mountain come to his piano. Philosophizing aside, it’s an album with some pretty moments, easy vocals, cool percussion, and Glasper’s signature sound.  Oh, yeah, and a groove version of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” that is just too cool.

Your album personnel:  Robert Glasper (piano, Fender Rhodes, keyboards), Casey Benjamin (vocoder, alto sax, flute), Derrick Hodge (bass), and Chris Dave (drums), with guests:  Jahi Sundance (turntables), Eykah Badu, Lalah Hathaway, Mos Def, Shafiq Husayn, Bilal, Chrisette Michele, Musiq Soulchild, Meshell Ndegeocello, Amber Strother, Anita Bias, Ledisi, Lupe Fiasco (vocals, on various tracks), and Stokley Williams (vocals, percussion).

Released on the Blue Note Records label.  Jazz from NYC.

Available on eMusic.


Matthew Shipp – Elastic Aspects

Pianist Shipp is (deservedly) recognized as one of the most inventive composers on the scene. He also gets lumped in with avant-garde a bit too quickly. It’s not an unreasonable categorization, as his compositions rarely fall into conventional territory, but it does lead to expectations, which can result in overlooking some divergent moments. No more does this become evident than on third track “Psychic Counterpart,” which if dissected, would have the beating heart of a Thelonious Monk tune within.

Your album personnel:  Matthew Shipp (piano), Michael Bisio (bass), and Whit Dickey (drums).

Yes, there’s plenty of deconstructed piano lines, ferocious bowing by bassist Michael Bisio, and Whit Dickey’s drums scattering the ashes of the rhythm in all directions, but look away too soon and you’ll miss some moments of sublime ballad and infectious swing.

Released on the Thirsty Ear Recordings label.  Jazz from NYC.

Available on eMusic.


Johnathan Blake – The Eleventh Hour

Debut album from Mingus Big Band alumnus Johnathan Blake, and it’s a good one.  Some nice modern straight-ahead playing with a solid line-up, including Mark Turner, Kevin Hays, Robert Glasper, Ben Street, and a guest appearance by Tom Harrell (with whom Blake played with).  Nice driving tempo to keep the head engaged and heart rate up.  Inclusion of harmonica on first and final songs is outstanding.  Opening track (and title-track) has a nice mix of chill jazz fusion counterbalanced with the rustic sound of harmonica, whereas on final track “Canvas,” the flickering interplay between sax and harmonica over a burgeoning swell of ensemble momentum is exhilarating.

Your album personnel:  Johnathan Blake (drums), Mark Turner (tenor sax), Ben Street (bass), with guests: Jaleel Shaw (alto sax), Kevin Hays (piano, Fender Rhodes), Tom Harrell (trumpet, Flugelhorn), Gregoire Maret (harmonica), Robert Glasper (piano, Fender Rhodes), and Tim Warfield (tenor sax).

Very promising debut album from a respected and active sideman for musicians like Tom Harrell, David Sanchez, Russell Malone and Kenny Barron.

You can stream the entire album on Blake’s bandcamp page.

Released on the Sunnyside Records label.

Available on eMusic.


That’s it for today’s article, and the first of three parts of the Tiny Reviews from this batch of new arrivals.

Here’s some language to protect emusic’s rights as the one to hire me originally to scour through the jazz new arrivals and write about the ones I like:

New Arrivals Jazz Picks“, courtesy of eMusic.com, Inc.
© 2012  eMusic.com, Inc.

My thanks to emusic for the freelance writing gig, the opportunity to use it in this blog, and the editorial freedom to help spread the word about cool new jazz being recorded today.