Apr 23 2019
The Round-up: This is where we’re at
Here is some very good new music
Anat Fort Trio – Colour (Sunnyside Records)
There’s a comforting fireplace presence to the latest from Anat Fort, and in the way she brings a melody to light, there’s also a hypnotic effect not unlike the flickering motion of flames dancing off the surface of wood. Influences of modern jazz, blues, gospel and folk shift back and forth, exerting their influence just enough to be felt, while maintaining an equilibrium between the different forms of expression that color the album’s pieces. This is music that will fit any time or place. Long-time collaborators bassist Gary Wang and drummer Roland Schneider contribute to this session, and thus continue a long and fruitful partnership with Fort. Music from Tel Aviv, Israel.
Artist site | Buy: Bandcamp – Amazon
Fergus McCreadie Trio – Turas (Self-Produced)
A really strong debut from Fergus McCreadie. The pianist lets the melody speak with a bold voice, and then lets it linger long after his trio has begun seeing where it will take them. That kind of resonance especially pays off when they circle back to the opening statement, and so there’s a satisfying sense of returning home. Along with bassist David Bowden and drummer Stephen Henderson, McCreadie’s trio sticks primarily to a modern straight-ahead sound for piano trio, a style particularly represented by Brad Mehldau. And that works to this music’s favor, where harmonic potential is the doorway to melodic exploration. This is actually the second time recently that McCreadie has made an appearance in a Round-up column. Music from Glasgow, Scotland.
Artist site | Listen | Buy: Bandcamp – Amazon
Elisha, Carter, Harlos & Elisha – Before or After (EYEtone Records)
What carries this album along is the way in which a focused intensity is maintained even during the performance’s sparsest moments. Pianist Haim Elisha, wind instrumentalist Daniel Carter, bassist Jeremy Harlos and drummer-percussionist Ehran Elisha exhibit a chamber sensibility in the course of free improvisation roaming tendencies, and it creates fertile soil in which to nurture the natural tension created by shaking free of a self-imposed structure. Music from NYC.
No artist site | Listen | Buy: Bandcamp
Max Johnk Quartet – allweather (Self-Produced)
There’s all kinds of straight-ahead goodness on the sophomore release from Max Johnk. The bassist and his quartet with tenor saxophonist Chris Schuster, trombonist Steve Wallevand and drummer Joel Beseler-Thompson find the right balance between melodic warmth and rhythmic heat, and gets it to where one feeds off the other in an unending cycle of lively energy. Those interactions between the musicians when they’re all moving in different directions while keeping a tight center of focus to make the motion seem completely in sync is when the quartet shines strongest. Music from Fargo, North Dakota.
Artist site | Listen | Buy: Bandcamp
Kliment Angelovski Trio – Inquistion (PMG Recordings)
Well, this is a fun and intriguing session. Guitarist Kliment Angelovski, accordionist Gjorgji Serafimovski and percussionist Mihail Parushev have created an album that has a presence as thick as a fog, and just as ethereal. There’s a looseness to the delivery that is plenty appealing, and just the nature of its unconventional sound makes it tough to stop listening. It appears this session was recorded back in ’96 and just now seeing the light of day. Not sure exactly, but I definitely wanted to get a quick mention in. Music from Macedonia.
Artist site | Listen | Buy: Bandcamp
Jan 29 2020
Best of 2019 #23: Graham Costello’s STRATA – “Obelisk”
On his debut album, Graham Costello attains a massive sound. Each time I’ve listened to this album over the course of 2019, inevitably I shake my head in disbelief that it’s merely a sextet that generates this much energy. But it’s more than just a big sound that distinguished Obelisk as something special; it’s the melodic intensity, and how it remains focused over a duration of nearly an hour and fifteen minutes of music. Each piece clocks in, on average, at ten minutes in length, and there’s never a moment where the drummer’s STRATA ensemble wavers or meanders off or takes their eye off some distant spot on the horizon that represents the tune’s endpoint. It’s driven music, and while the melody changes under this constant pressure, it’s never so much that it deviates from its original voicing. It’s a remarkable feat just by way of this accomplishment, but how it lends to a dramatic listening experience is what elevates this recording up to a higher esteem. I ended my write-up for The Bandcamp Daily by saying, “And drummer Graham Costello doesn’t let up for the entirety of his debut; the unrelenting waves of cinematic imagery accrue an intensity that never seems to level off, even after the last note has faded.” And, really, that’s the best way to end it here, too. This album has been in constant play on my stereo, and the impact of the music hasn’t lessened, not even a little.
Your album personnel: Graham Costello (drums), Harry Weir (tenor sax), Liam Shortall (trombone), Fergus McCreadie (piano), Joe Williamson (guitar), and Mark Hendry (bass).
The album is Self-Produced, and released as BPQD Records.
Music from Glasgow, UK.
I wrote about the album for The Bandcamp Daily.
Cover art by Graham Costello.
Listen | Read more | Available at: Bandcamp – Amazon
By davesumner • Recap: Best of 2019 • 4 • Tags: Best Jazz of 2019, Glasgow (Scotland), Graham Costello, Self-Produced