Jan 5 2019
Best of 2018 #41: Saunier, Halvorson, Miles – “New American Songbooks, Volume 1”
This is a conceptual Great American Songbook. It is a collection of music that frames us as a country and defines our character in the same passing moments that it shapes us in return. It’s with that thought in mind that the trio of cornetist Ron Miles, guitarist Mary Halvorson, and drummer Greg Saunier reinterpret works by Elliott Smith, the Beach Boys, the Partridge Family, Fiona Apple, and John L. Williams, and give a present day voice to music that situates itself as the modern collection of Tin Pan Alley tunes. There isn’t a moment on this recording that doesn’t deal in fascination and reverence.
Released on Sound American.
I wrote about the album for The Bandcamp Daily.
Music from New York City and Denver, CO.
Jan 25 2020
Best of 2019 #40: Kris Davis, Matt Mitchell, Aruán Ortiz, Matthew Shipp – “New American Songbooks, Volume 2”
The New American Songbooks series seeks to dissect the concept of the Great American Songbook, and translate it to the music of today. It is as much conceptual exercise as pragmatic creativity. Jazz musicians, by and large, endlessly practice their craft, and immerse themselves in the music as it was, as it is, and as they want it to be. They study the jazz masters that came before them, the theory and works that are now part of the lore, and take that knowledge for themselves and make part of their own, personal lore. It is why the past is often an essential component of new music that might sound alien and unfamiliar and strange.
For the second installment of the New American Songbooks series, pianists Kris Davis, Matt Mitchell, Aruán Ortiz and Matthew Shipp bring together past and present. As I wrote for The Bandcamp Daily, “[These musicians] are responsible for some of the most challenging, unconventional music on the modern scene- and yet, the way in which they pour their hearts into renditions of traditional hymns, pop music, and avant-garde compositions reveals that, at the core of their music, are thoughtful, contemplative inspirations that are not so different from those felt by anyone else. The performance of each musician on this recording embodies the spirit of the Songbook, and the idea of music possessing a timeless sound that speaks to something universal. I cannot possibly recommend this album strongly enough.” That recommendation goes for both installments in the series, and, I imagine, those yet to come.
Your album personnel: Kris Davis (piano), Matt Mitchell (piano), Aruán Ortiz (piano), and Matthew Shipp (piano).
Released on Sound American Records.
Music from Brooklyn, NY.
I wrote about this album for The Bandcamp Daily.
Listen | Read more | Available at: Bandcamp
By davesumner • Recap: Best of 2019 • 0 • Tags: Aruan Ortiz, Best Jazz of 2019, Brooklyn (NY), Kris Davis, Matt Mitchell, Matthew Shipp, Sound American