The Round-up: Waiting for the thaw


Here is some very good new music.


Marius Neset – Circle of Chimes (ACT Music)

There’s a number of reasons the new one from Marius Neset is so compelling.  First, he’s got an amazing line-up with guitarist Lionel Loueke, pianist Ivo Neame, drummer Anton Eger, vibraphonist Jim Hart, double bassist Petter Eldh, cellist Andreas Brantelid and flautist Ingrid Neset.  All of these musicians have their own respective projects that come from different directions and music territories, and so it’s unsurprising that Circle of Chimes transitions frequently between forms of expression.  First and foremost is when a Classical music influence rises to the surface.  There is a grace and elegance present that is seriously arresting.  It’s a quality that extends to when the ensemble shifts to a folk music form, and how their eloquent lyricism is no obstacle to developing a friendly chatter.  And then there’s the little thrills that come from the transitions between forms of expression… either within the span of a piece or as the change between them.  Even when this incorporates a contemporary or pop music flair, an unfortunate habit which Neset falls into from time to time, has its place in the grand scheme of the album.

Artist site | Buy:  Amazon


Jackie Ferguson – Riffs and Ballads (Self-Produced)

There’s some seriously inviting melodies offered up on this trio session from Jackie Ferguson.  The guitarist maintains a peaceful atmosphere, even when the liveliness bubbles up and boils over.  With bassist Örn Ingi Unnsteinsson and drummer Jan Philipp, Ferguson develops an almost susurrant chatter, where the delivery of the message carries a greater impact than the meaning of its imagery.  Quite beautiful at times.  Music from Cologne, Germany.

Artist site | Listen | Buy:  Bandcamp


Nexus 4000 – Space Magic (Self-Produced)

The combination of a big sound and joyful tone is what makes this EP from Nexus 4000 so much damn fun.  Gabriel Sundy‘s septet runs with jazz-rock fusion, and augments it with just the right amounts of cosmic, psych and prog qualities so that there’s some personality and texture to bolster all of that effusiveness.  Pretty easy to fall for this one.  Music from San Diego, CA.

Artist site | Listen | Buy:  Bandcamp


Brad Dutz 4tet – Genius of Meandering (Self-Produced)

Sometimes this music is a blanket of harmony like a room bathed in light and other times it pulses like messages from distant stars on a cloudless night, but no matter the imagery it inspires, this release from the Brad Dutz 4tet is nothing short of beautiful.  Two feet solid in the chamber jazz category, the percussionist crafts a special kind of tranquility with his quartet of bass clarinetist Brian Walsh, cellist Chris Votek and Paul Sherman on oboe and English horn.  Music from Los Angeles.

Artist site | Listen | Buy:  Bandcamp


Kubikmaggi – Things (Far From Moscow Records)

There’s modern jazz, chamber, folk, avant-garde and any number of other influences that bubbles up from this new release by the quartet Kubikmaggi, and it’s their bold attitude that gives the album its cohesion.  They dart from expression to expression and rarely bother to smooth over the transitions.  It’s a big reason that the music is so damn thrilling and so much fun.  Pianist Ksenia Fedorova, bassist Max Roudenko, percussionist Ilya Varfolomeev and saxophonist Alexander Timofeev are bringing it from St. Petersburg, Russia.

Artist site | Listen | Buy:  BandcampAmazon