Aug 23 2015
Whereas on previous visits, I simply played a handful of new & upcoming releases, this time around I went with a different approach. I focused on four different small labels and played recent(ish) releases from each.
Names like Blue Note Records and Prestige and Impulse Records and Verve are pretty well known as sources of classic jazz recordings, even amongst the most casual of music listeners. Labels still play an active role on the modern jazz landscape, but the advances in technology and the massive influence of the internet have created an environment where small- to mid-size labels are able to produce an impressive array of quality releases. Many of them are focused on a particular geographical scene or sub-genre expression. I’m going to begin highlighting these labels, because I believe they will provide some useful tools to explore the music on your own. Guideposts are good, and empowering you with those tools will be just as useful as my lists of random recommendations (not that those are going to end anytime soon).
On this show, I highlight recent releases from Songlines Recordings, Portland Jazz Composers Ensemble (PJCE), Traumton Records and Hubro Music.
Below the embedded show audio is a playlist of the songs heard, a brief synopsis of each label and links (when available) to articles on this site where you can read more about the albums and musicians presented on the show.
A brief note: The audio begins with the very end of the previous show and, unfortunately, cuts off the very end of the final track of my playlist. Also, the opening Wayne Horvitz track had some tech difficulties, so we restarted it after about the first 30 seconds. Other than that, the only obstacle was my penchant for mangling artist names.
This outfit based in Vancouver, Canada has spent the last couple decades putting out music that often gets categorized as avant-garde, but the expanse of their catalog proves just how diverse the term “avant-garde” has become as a form of expression. Challenging music need not be right in your face… provocation can be as subtle and sweet as a gentle kiss. Visit their site (LINK).
From the Songlines Recordings label:
Wayne Horvitz – “Those Who Remain Are the Worst” from his new release Some Places Are Forever Afternoon. (Read more)
Waxwing – “Dune” from their new album A Bowl of Sixty Taxidermists. (Read more)
The Westerlies – “Sweeter Than the Day” from their 2014 release Wish the Children Would Come On Home: The Music of Wayne Horvitz. (Read more)
Equilibrium – “Praha” from their new release Liquid Light. (Read more)
Portland Jazz Composers Ensemble (PJCE)
This is a nice example where the musicians from a particular geographical location (in this instance, Portland, Oregon) band together and develop a scene through the development of a live performance series but also via a DIY label to release their studio recordings. PJCE’s sound (as much as any collection of musicians can be said to have a sound) tends more towards the assimilation of modern classical, jazz and pop. The music tends to be very embraceable, sometimes even catchy, but also unconventional and compellingly cerebral. Visit their site (LINK).
From the PJCE label:
Ocular Concern – “Portland In Reverse” from their 2014 release Sister Cities. (Read more)
Barra Brown Quintet – “How the West Was Won” from his 2013 release Songs for a Young Heart. (Read more)
Richards/Duval – “Indian Summer” from their 2014 release Indian Summer. (Read more)
Operation Northwoods – “Remember the Maine” from their 2013 release Bureau of Fiction. (Read more)
This Berlin-based label does more than Jazz, and what comprises its catalog from that genre shows how far and wide the borders of Jazz have grown. What originally began as a recording studio grew into a music label, and what began locally grew into worldwide representation. The label is under-the-radar in the jazz community only because of their admirable dedication to releasing music that defies convention. Visit their site (LINK).
From the Traumton label:
Masaa – “Aruz” from the quartet’s 2014 release Afkar. (Read more)
Mario Rom’s Interzone – “Shooting Wild Bill Edwards” from their new release Everything is Permitted. (Read more)
Sebastian Sternal Symphonic Society – “Magnolia” from his new release Sternal Symphonic Society Vol.2. (Read more)
Relatively new to the scene, this Norwegian-based label was formed with the intent to focus on music from their patch of turf. Releases fall under both the jazz and pop music genres, often with one influencing the other. Typical to jazz from the Nordic scene, much of the jazz released by Hubro is drenched in serenity, and the folk and chamber music elements resonate far stronger than anything than would typically be associated with jazz. Much of it is blissfully gorgeous. Visit their site (LINK).
From the Hubro Music label:
Mats Eilertsen – “Sails Set” from the 2013 release Sails Set. (Read more)
Stein Urheim – “Kosmolada” from the 2014 release Stein Urheim. (Read more)
Splashgirl – “All the Vowels Missing” from their 2013 release Field Day Rituals. (Read more)
As always, my thanks to Kevin Coultas for having me on the show, and my apologies to the artists and labels for all the names and album titles I mispronounced and all of the various facts I may have gotten wrong. I know I should be prepping more before each show and try to be, y’know, professional, but with the challenges of my schedule, I feel fortunate to be able to carve out a little bit of time to spin some tunes. I assume I’ll get better with time.
Thanks for listening in and reading along, and good luck with your search for your next favorite album.