The Round-up: And there was no fooling myself about where exactly I stood


Here is some very good new music.


Jeremy Pelt – Noir en Rouge: Live in Paris (HighNote Records)

You can’t go wrong with this live set from Jeremy Pelt and his quintet.  Recorded at Paris’s Sunside/Sunset Jazz Club, the trumpeter brings plenty of that live performance electricity to the recorded medium.  It’s pure straight-ahead goodness, both from an old-school and new-school point of view.  Pelt’s quintet is solid, with bassist Vicente Archer, drummer Jonathan Barber, percussionist Jacquelene Acevedo and (personal favorite) pianist Victor Gould.  The thrills are immediate when Pelt ramps up the voltage, but the serious heat gets delivered when the quintet slows things down and patiently emotes on “I Will Wait For You.”  That feel is evident in every note, and that’s why each one gives the strong impression of serious and sincere meaning.  Music from Paris via NYC.

Artist site | Buy:  Amazon


Ksawery Wójciński & Wojciech Jachna ‎- Conversation With Space (Fundacja Słuchaj!)

The duo of Ksawery Wójciński & Wojciech Jachna are hypnotic like the storming sea.  Waves of dissonance comes crashing down and the spray of rain sometimes cuts across the face like glass and sometimes it cools the brow.  Turbulence shakes every note and every step forward is unsteady and perilous.  But there is a peacefulness inherent in that furious environment, when the senses grasp the entirety of the ocean rather than focusing on the individual waves and lightning and raindrops… and how everything is connected and moves with the patience of a planet rotating through time.  The bassist and trumpeter embody this sensation on their compelling Conversation With Space.  And sometimes, when they enter the eye of the storm, there’s a melodic tranquility that is damn near addictive and will make you never want to leave.  Excellent stuff here.  Music from Warsaw, Poland.

Artist site | Listen | Buy:  Bandcamp


Paul Bedal – Mirrors (Bace Records)

It’s the little things that make the difference on the new recording from Paul Bedal.  It’s the way in which trumpeter Jean Caze and alto saxophonist Caroline Davis suddenly come together from their separate flight patterns.  It’s how the twittering undercurrent of bassist Dion Kerr suddenly makes its presence felt in that way the cadence of grass resonates on a sun-kissed afternoon.  It’s where the conversational manner of drummer Matt Carroll falls into the stream of dialog struck up by Bedal’s melodic voicing on piano.  This is your standard straight-ahead modern jazz session, and all of these little things endow it with an individuality that is quite striking.  And enjoyable… plenty enjoyable, too.  Music from Chicago.

Artist site | Listen | Buy:  BandcampAmazon


Fabrice Sotton – The Time Has Come (Self-Produced)

Fabrice Sotton has got a feel on piano that makes the simplest melodies resonate like mad, and only requires the gentlest coaxing to set them into motion.  This solo set is just more evidence at how little difference there is between a pretty melody and flickering candlelight when the pianist is in a mood to conjure up some imagery.  Need some music for a peaceful Sunday morning that possesses the liveliness of leaves fluttering in the breeze just outside your window?  If yes (and who doesn’t?), then download this album.  Music from Paris.

Artist site | Listen | Buy:  Amazon


Marc Sarrazy & Laurent Rochelle – Chansons Pour L’oreille Gauche (Linoleum Records)

There’s a potent chemistry activated when clarinetist Laurent Rochelle and pianist Marc Sarrazy collaborate.  It transforms succinct melodic visions into wildly blossoming imagery, and makes elastic the sense of time in which they evolve into their final shape and form.  Their enchanting 2017 release Intranquillité is a prelude to more of the same on their latest creation.  When Rochelle switches over to bass clarinet, the inherent moodiness becomes like magic unleashed.  It’s a similar effect when Sarrazy utilizes a prepared piano, though this personality trait reveals itself in the subtle effects on melody and how fragile it can appear even at its strongest articulation.  Some additional textures are arrive via guest strings and percussion, and most especially the vocals of Anja Kowalski and echoes of the OKIDOKI Quartet project.  Music from Toulouse, France.

Artist site | Listen | Buy:  Bandcamp