Jazz New Releases: Week Ending Dec 06, 2011 (Pt. 1 of 2)

Tiny Review recs of new Jazz releases, featuring:  Carlos Bica & Azul, The Neighborhood Trio, Sunna Gunnlaugs, Gansan, and Marty Ehrlich.


The recs below were built off the skeleton of the recommendations I make as part of my weekly contribution to the Emusic New Arrivals article.  I do the jazz recs for it.  Emusic lets me copy it onto my blog 30 after it’s posted on their site.  When I post on Bird is the Worm, I add album art, audio (when available), additional links, and if I’ve had the opportunity to give the album additional listens, modify my opinion a bit and tighten up the original language.  So here it goes…

Let’s begin…


Carlos Bica & Azul – Things About

Double bassist and composer Carlos Bica has carved out a jazz niche for himself with his inventive style of avant-lyrical jazz fused with Portuguese folk music. With Frank Mobus on guitar and Jim Black on drums, this is yet one more fantastic release in a series of them. Their first album came fifteen years ago, a nice long stretch to develop an empathic bond for each others sound and ideas.

Things About is a pleasantly laid-back affair (for the most part), with Mobus’s inquisitive guitar giving an eerie heard but not seen in the shadows effect, the footsteps echoing through Black’s percussive accompaniment, as Bica prowls alongside both, close but just out of reach. On the Clean Feed Records label, which is often characterized by its artists love of dissonance; Bica has consistently applied a lighter touch to that aesthetic and has lately recorded albums drowned in tranquility. Highly Recommended.  Jazz from the Porto, Portugal scene.

Available on Emusic.


The Neighborhood Trio – The Neighborhood Trio

Consisting of vibes, bass, and acoustic & steel guitars, The Neighborhood Trio isn’t creating traditional jazz. There is, however, a sort of throwback element to their sound, of summery mint juleps on back porches, echoes of Leon Redbone and quiet seaside lounges. An enchanting set of tunes for their debut album. Recommended.

Self-Produced.  Jazz from the Minneapolis scene.

A free album track is available at AllAboutJazz, courtesy of the artist.

Available on Emusic.


Sunna Gunnlaugs – Long Pair Bond

Sunna Gunnlaugs’ new piano trio album deftly meshes the Norwegian jazz quiet ambiance with the celebratory bounce of American jazz. An absolutely sublime album that should appeal to fans of ECM label musicians like Marcin Wasilewski as well as Keith Jarrett’s American Quartet. Highly recommended.

Personnel:  Sunna Gunnlaugs (piano), Þorgrímur Jónsson (bass), and Scott McLemore (drums).

Self-Produced on her Sunny Sky Records label through a Kickstarter campaign. Jazz from the Icelandic scene.

NOTE:  I have a lot more to say about this excellent album, but I’m unsure as to when my review will be published (it’ll hit a different site first and I don’t have access to their editorial calender).  I’ll make a blog post when I get confirmation of the facts, but seriously, just go out and buy this beautiful album.

Free album track available at AllAboutJazz, courtesy of the artist.

Available on Emusic.


Gansan – Elégie Berbère

Wow!  Gansan is an ensemble formed to explore the marriage of the soprano sax and the Moroccan riban, a single-stringed instrument that is bowed when played, and the meshing of jazz and berber musics. Dynamic rhythms, long flowing string and sax lines, and a joyfulness that exceeds even its cerebral connection. This is just too cool. Highly recommended.

Personnel:  Nicolas Dechêne (guitar), Luc Evens (double bass), Benoît Ruwet (drums), Ludovic Jeanmart (alto & soprano sax), Tamount Ifassen (Morocco), Foulane Bouhssine (ribeb, violon), and Ahmed Khaili (percussion).

Released on the Home Records label.  It appears you can stream the entire album there.

Available on Emusic.


Marty Ehrlich’s Rites Quartet – Frog Leg Logic

Marty Ehrlich continues to prove himself as one of the most inventive composers on the scene. A top-notch reedman, Ehrlich has an impressive track record of exploring the melodic and harmonic possibilities of the particular theme he has for an album. Joined on this quartet date by cellist Hank Roberts, drummer Michael Sarin, and James Zollar on trumpet, Ehrlich gives alternating melodies of hard and soft edges within a jazz framework colored with an old folk music sound. Don’t know that this album will appeal to everybody, but Ehrlich should be on everyone’s short list of jazz musicians to explore. Released on the Clean Feed Records label, one of jazz’s stronger labels. Recommended.

Available on Emusic.


Part 2 will appear the day after tomorrow’s post (on Monday).


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.
© 2011  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.