The Round-up: It threatens to scatter me everywhere and nowhere at all


Here is some very good new music.


Richard Sears – Iron Year (Slow & Steady Records)

The melancholy quality to the melodies of Iron Year make this music smoulder like mad, like a fireplace that is mostly embers but still kicks out enough heat to fill up the room.  It’s an effect that holds tight when Richard Sears‘ sextet picks up a headwind, but it’s especially true when they settle into a patient hard bop cadence.  The combination of melancholy and propulsion is a potent one, and it makes for the perfect kind of album for standing in a window and watching the rain fall… just before deciding, screw it, I’m going to the bar to have a drink… and these melodies stick with you the entire time.  Music from Brooklyn, NY.

Artist site | Listen | Buy:  BandcampAmazon


Tenderlonious – The Shakedown, featuring the 22arkestra (22a Music)

Of the many tedious bullet points offered up by the knuckleheads stating Jazz is dead is that jazz used to be dance music, but no more.  Well, The Shakedown is Ed “Tenderlonious” Cawthorne‘s deafening fuck you to those jackasses… because this is music for the clubs and it’s music made to get people moving and it’s music for kicking back with friends on an electric Friday night, some whiskey and good laughs.  Jazz is life and life is a groove, and The Shakedown provides all kinds of ways to move on through it.  Music from London, UK.

Artist site | Listen | Buy:  BandcampAmazon


Muze Jazz Orchestra – New Horizons (Self-Produced)

It’d take a real black heart not to fall for this mix of folksy charm and boisterous grooves from the Muze Jazz Orchestra.  The way the large ensemble begins with some laid-back playfulness of melody and suddenly shifts gears into a hard charging cadence gets increasingly addictive with each successive revolution of the cycle.  That they bind it all together with some lovely harmonic voicing puts it over the top.  Music from Heusden Zolder, Belgium.

Artist site | Listen | Buy:  Bandcamp


Tal Arditi Trio – Portrait (Ancor Records)

There’s a dreamy melodicism that boosts the enjoyment potential on this straight-ahead session from Tal Arditi.  There’s something about the way the guitarist lets a melody breathe that makes it resonate with just a little more strength than what might otherwise be expected.  The result is a shimmering effect, a subtle motion that makes a bright tone shine with a softer, but more brilliant tone… like in that way a fireflies light attracts the eye’s attention more than a nighttime sky full of stars.  A solid debut.  Music from Berlin, Germany.

Artist site | Listen | Buy:  BandcampAmazon


Michael Brenneis – Plutonium (Rattle Tick Buzz Records)

This album doesn’t advance one foot after the other.  This octet session led out by Michael Brenneis isn’t shy about taking detours and shifting the pace of action.  Sometimes there’s a lot of parts in motion, and sometimes this spreads things out to where the center of the music loses its focus.  I’m not sure that’s even a criticism, really, because it’s during those passages when the ensemble seems to abandon the idea of moving in a singular direction that leads to some of the more exciting moments.  Six woodwinds, bass, and drums.  Music from Madison, Wisconsin.

Artist site | Listen | Buy:  Bandcamp