Jazz New Releases: Week Ending November 15, 2011

Tiny Review recs of new jazz releases, featuring:  Arun Ghosh, Tito Carrillo, Corey Wilkes, Hal Galper Trio, David Budway, Kaimaki, and Ramsey Lewis.


The following is sort of copied from the weekly article I write for emusic.com, giving a rundown of mini-reviews of interesting jazz new releases.  Once I get caught up on the older recs (of which there are five installments), I’ll post them once a week, adding some artwork and extra links and modifying the text a little bit.  When I write the mini-reviews initially, I’m under a serious time constraint, but now I’ve had time to listen more closely to the music and think about it, so some of the reviews will change, but some may not.  They were initially called “Jonah’s Jazz Picks”; the reason why is not a complicated story or a long one, but sufficient banal to just overlook.

This was the fourth installment of my recs.


Hey, again.

Well, it was probably unreasonable to hope that the avalanche of new jazz releases would continue for a fourth week in a row. After joyously being greeted by over twenty five pages of new jazz releases each of the last handful of weeks, this week’s Freshly Ripped didn’t bury me alive. Of course, the flip side to a smaller offering is the time in which to savor the new discoveries. Case in point…


Arun Ghosh, Primal Odyssey

Very happy to be able to lead off with a new Indo-jazz release, and a strong one at that. Generally speaking, Indo-jazz is Indian music when the seed of the song is planted, but which sprouts from the ground in the form of jazz improvisation. What often results is a joyous music that is right at home in dark smoky jazz clubs. In addition to Arun Ghosh’s clarinet, other instruments making an appearance include bass clarinet, sax, double-bass, and drums, and they layer atop one another in wondrous long sonorous drifts of sound, propulsed by a rhythm section that takes command of the listener’s foot. If you only buy one jazz album this week, this should be it. Highly recommended.

02 Unravel by Arun Ghosh

08 Damascus by Arun Ghosh

Released on the Camoci label.

Album can be purchased on emusic here.


Tito Carrillo, Opening Statement

It’s a story line that jazz fans encounter from time to time… long-time session player finally records an album under his or her own name. I can’t help but cheer that effort and hope it works out. Being a team player is a noble calling in any field, but in jazz where the performance of the various pieces in the ensemble can create a whole so much greater than the sum of its individual parts, I can’t help but want to cheer on the underdog who steps out from the bandstand and into the spotlight for the first time themselves. Of course, when the result is an extraordinarily strong album like Tito Carrillo’s Opening Statement, cheering takes a backseat to listening. This is straight-ahead jazz, though it might be a mistake to describe the development of the tunes as linear. Each song takes a round-about path from first note to last, giving the songs a sense of adventure even when Carrillo’s trumpet is giving sound to a standard series of notes. This was an album that had me already looking forward to his next.

Released on the Origin/OA2 label.

Album can be purchased on emusic here.


Corey Wilkes, Kind of Miles: Live at the Velvet Lounge

A nice live set from trumpet player Corey Wilkes covering a set of Miles Davis tunes. Wilkes has a strong position in the Chicago jazz community, being a member of the AACM as well as receiving the honor of sitting in with the Art Ensemble of Chicago following the passing of long-time member Lester Bowie. Performed at the historic Velvet Lounge, Wilkes does more than just run a standard cover set, though. With four tunes running between 15 and 26 minutes each, he gives his group time to explore and expand on Davis’s original themes. Especially rewarding is their take on “Yesterdays”, which builds on Davis’s take (of, originally, a Jerome Kern song), building oh so slowly and drawing out every drop of emotion from the notes. Equally intriguing is the ensemble’s mash-up of Davis’s “So What” and Radiohead’s “Everything In Its Right Place.” This is definitely a live album; you can hear the sounds of the Velvet Lounge throughout the album. Fortunately, it adds to the ambiance of the album experience rather than detracts. This album won’t be for everybody, but there is a large contingent of jazz fans who need to buy this. Me, the samples compelled me to buy it.

Unsure if this is self-produced or not.

Album can be purchased on emusic here.


Hal Galper Trio, Trip the Light Fantastic

Jazz piano vet and highly regarded educator, Hal Galper offers another solid recording to his lengthy discography. Galper has a very identifiable sound, not sure I can adequately compare him to anyone. The way in which he strings notes together, it always leaves me with the impression of falling down a flight of stairs without ever leaving my feet… a controlled cohesive randomness that’s just a wee bit dangerous and could prove fatal. With Jeff Johnson and John Bishop on bass and drums, Galper’s trio puts out a strong recording, and the Origin label continues to impress with their selection of talent.

Released on the Origin/OA2 label.

The album can be purchased on emusic here.


David Budway – A New Kiss

The always reliable MaxJazz label gives session vet David Budway a platform for his debut A New Kiss. Accompanied by a strong line-up that includes (among others) Marcus Strickland, Jeff “Tain” Watts, Eric Revis, and a guest performance by Branford Marsalis, Budway delivers a warm set of contemporary numbers. Well, except for the final track on the album that brings guitar and keyboards into the mix for a nifty tune with Arabic stylings. Neat end to a very enjoyable album.

It appears that the album can be streamed on David’s myspace page.

Released on the MaxJazz label.

The album can be purchased on emusic here.


Kaimaki Mataroa

Ridiculously pretty album.  Kaimaki is a French quintet of sax, piano, drums, bass, and vocals. Shimmering melodies sway gently in place as sax flutters just overhead, entwined with intermittent vocals. Engaging, yet uncomplicated. Just a series of beautiful songs. A promising debut recording, which appears to be Self-Produced.

Album can be purchased on emusic here.


Ramsey Lewis – Take Another Look

Putting out recording number eighty with Take Another Look, Ramsey Lewis , a jazz icon, revisits some of his favorite compositions with his Electric Band. Ramsey’s music these days is pretty mainstream, perhaps lacking the sound that beboppers and modern jazzers alike prefer, but, for me, Ramsey’s immense talent has always transcended that. Some of his early jazz-R&B fusion albums, like the fun Sun Goddess, in which he collaborates with members of Earth, Wind, & Fire, fit into that personal category of “Albums With A Sound That I’m Not Into But Listen To All The Time Anyway” (my personal categories have always been especially verbose). I highly recommend poking around his discography, since there’s something there for everybody to like.
Ramsey Lews – Living for the City by hiddenbeach

Released on the Hidden Beach label.

Album can be purchased at emusic here.


I think that’s where I’ll call it a wrap for this week. I hope you find some cool new music.




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.