The Round-up: Naming the places you’ve dreamed


Here is some very good new music.


Slivovitz – Liver (MoonJune Records)

It’s pretty easy to imagine this band being a whole bunch of fun to see perform live.  The septet Slivovitz kicks up a party-hard tempo that is all but a command to dance.  They keep the melodies simple and unfussy, and watching their shape evolve under a heavy rhythmic pressure is not only an essential ingredient of the enjoyment, but also adds some cerebral intrigue to the affair.  This recording of a 2016 Milan concert gives a pretty decent indication of the electrical charge a live show can generate, while hinting that buying the ticket for an actual seat brings so much more.  Cool stuff, and certainly in line with their 2015 studio release All You Can Eat.  Music from Naples, Italy.

Artist site | Listen | Buy:  Bandcamp – Amazon


TOLV – Électrons Libres (Label Manivelle)

There’s a seductive quality to this collaboration by the TOLV duo of guitarist Jaime L. Pantaléon and flautist Etienne Lecomte.  That allure is particularly effective in the way it provides balance and contrast with the album’s electronic frisson.  The music is ambient as hell, but something about how the duo warps the ethereal melodies of Électrons Libres results in sound with a bite to it.  Music from Barcelona and Paris.

Artist site | Listen | Buy:  BandcampAmazon


Peter Kenagy – Standard Model (Self-Produced)

There’s a simple charm to this straight ahead session from Peter Kenagy.  It’s like pulling a random Prestige Records CD off the shelves and feeling confident that no matter which one it is, there’s a certain reliability that some quality bop is going to fill the air.  The trumpeter eschews any compositions that date back to those times when bop was was the reason for the season, but each of his originals certainly could travel back in time and find a home there.  He’s joined by alto saxophonist Jeremy Udden, pianist Carmen Staaf, bassist Greg Ryan and drummer Austin McMahon.  Music from Boston.

Artist site | Listen | Buy:  BandcampAmazon


Andrew Bain – Embodied Hope (Whirlwind Records)

Good god, this whole album explodes with life.  The melody is where it’s at, possessing a tightly focused intensity that branches off like a tesla coil.  Drummer Andrew Bain captures some of the Noir-bop of Clifford Jordan’s 1970’s Magic Triangle sessions, situated in a place where poetry and chaos fall into an easy embrace.  With tenor saxophonist Jon Irabagon, double bassist Michael Janisch and pianist George Colligan in the fold, Bain has assembled a cast with a proven track record of working the transitions between form and freedom, composition to wild improvisation and back again.  This is a seriously thrilling album.  Music from Birmingham, England.


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Alfred Artigas Quartet – Permiso (Underpool Records)

This session from guitarist Alfred Artigas is at its best when his quartet bubbles with excitement, causing the rhythm to stretch outside the lines of its prevailing structure.  That perpetually disjointed state of rhythmic existence incites a seriously lively chatter and makes the melody crackle with life.  There’s nothing wrong with those tunes that work methodically through the blues, but the dynamic qualities of this music shine strongest when the quartet is in motion.  Pianist Toni Saigi, double bassist Marc Cuevas and drummer Oriol Roca round out that quartet.  Music from Barcelona.

Artist site | Listen | Buy:  BandcampAmazon