The Round-up: The process had lost its magic long ago


Here is some very good new music


Felipe Salles Interconnections Ensemble – The Lullaby Project (Tapestry Records)

Felipe Salles doesn’t have to come at you with a hard sell on his latest.  The comforting sighs of melody and soothing waves of harmony are plenty evidence of his intent to compose for jazz orchestra the Brazilian lullabies of his childhood.  Even when his ensemble lets loose a surge of intensity, there’s always a sense of goal=sweet dreams.  The whole album is gorgeous, but good god, that fourth movement is stunning.  Music from NYC.

Artist site | Listen | Buy:  Amazon


Andrew Hadro – For Us, The Living II: Marcescence (Tone Rogue Records)

This is the second release in Andrew Hadro‘s For Us, The Living series, and, really, the important point to let sink in is that this is seriously engaging music.  Sometimes the engagement is how a ballad gets the listener to sink into its embrace, and sometimes that engagement comes via a riveting dialog, full of lyricism and vivid imagery.  The same could be said about the initial recording, which I still enjoy playing from time to time.  The theme of the two recordings is a focus on living composers, and that’s always thrown me a bit, since the first in the series was mostly Hadro originals.  The current installment swings the ratio in the other direction (including comps by Wayne Shorter, Sean Pentland, Chris Cheek, and Julian Shore… who also performs on the newest), and seems more in line with the intent.  Included among the renditions is a cover of Radiohead’s “Faust Arp,” and I don’t care how many of you groan god, do we really need another Radiohead cover? my answer is always yes, we do.  The frequency of occurrence in no way negates how much loveliness available to jazz musicians to suss out from a Radiohead tune.  There’s also a cover Bill Frisell’s “Throughout,” which as any casual reader of this site knows, that’s the fastest way to get my attention.  The act of recognizing a new jazz songbook of modern standards is an intriguing concept, and seems like the kind of thing that could bring a sense of cohesion to a modern scene that is (wonderfully) unconstrained and fragmented in its forms of expression.  The idea of one original included among those composed in the modern era appeals to me; it’ll be interesting to see if Hadro continues in that direction.  Music from NYC.

Artist site | Listen | Buy:  BandcampAmazon


Sons of Kemet – Your Queen is a Reptile (Impulse Records)

Though justifiably attributed as a focal point of the resurgent London music scene, the thing of it is, Shabaka Hutchings creative trajectory covers more geography than just one locale.  The latest from Sons of Kemet is a testament to that, and this is something measured by its sonic perspective as well as one political.  The rhythmic dialogues are like points on a map, marking a journey between cities, countries and continents.  The album and song titles are a shout across the bow, simultaneously undercutting the idea of royal lineage and lofting up an alternate suggestion of who is the true royalty of these times.  But transcending the intriguing underpinnings of this album is how supremely joyful the music is.  The tuba of Theon Cross is just as responsible for the delightful rhythmic bounce as the cast of drummers who contribute, and the guest vocalists add some heat to the affair along with additional saxophonists Nubya Garcia and Pete Wareham.  Music from London.

Artist site | Buy:  Amazon


Rafael Thomaz Septeto – Ainda dá tempo? (Tratore)

This is just a gorgeous session from guitarist Rafael Thomaz.  A unity of Brazilian, classical and jazz, his septet brings out the beauty of each melody, and lets the harmonies shine like the heavens opening up for all to see.  There are some interludes spread throughout, and their introspective nature is a nice contrasting element.  Flutist Cesar Pereira, oboist Tiago Marques, clarinetist Alexandre Ribeiro, saxophonist Bruno Cabral, bassist Henrique Tarrason and drummer Fabio Augustinis join Thomaz on this lovely recording.

Artist site | Listen | Buy:  BandcampAmazon