Jul 24 2017
Here is some very good new music.
Theo Hill – Promethean (Posi-Tone Records)
On the latest from Theo Hill, only one of the album’s eleven tracks are an original composition, but the compositions he chooses to interpret are an interesting cast of jazz luminaries. It’s particularly promising to see the trend of attention paid to the works of Kenny Kirkland. The pianist also tackles two by Tony Williams, and a rhythmic language blossoms with a melodic voice. The sole original composition is the track “The Phoenix,” and it’s one of the highlights. The up-tempo piece has an engaging mix of melodic clarity and warm ambiance, and it suits the song’s brisk pace. Hill opens the album with a take on Bobby Timmons’ “This Here,” and it’s the kind of thing that’ll probably want you to start a crowdfunding campaign to lock Hill in a room with just a piano and the Timmons songbook and not be allowed to leave until he has an entire album of new material. Hill’s trio makes it a song for afternoon walks in the crisp Autumn air when all the leaves have settled into their new colors and everything feels alive and hopeful. Bassist Yasushi Nakamura and drummer Mark Whitfield, Jr. join Hill on this session.
Gerald Cannon – Combinations (Woodneck Records)
I know this album was recorded in a studio and I know that the various personnel came in at scheduled times and did their thing according to the studio schedule, but this joyful new release from bassist Gerald Cannon sounds like he gathered all his friends together in a bar with their instruments, and after the last-call drunks made their exit, everybody gathered around and just started playing. There’s a real sense of togetherness on this straight-ahead session, and that leads to impressions of spontaneity and playing in the moment. Just a real old-school feel to this album. A special treat is a rendition of the Sam Jones (via Clifford Jordan) composition “One for Amos.” By the way, some of those friends Cannon invites are Gary Bartz, Jeremy Pelt, Kenny Barron, Duane Eubanks and a number of other heavy-hitters.
Grégory Sallet Quintet – Le Mouvement Crée la Matière (Label Pince-Oreilles)
What’s particularly interesting about this release from saxophonist Grégory Sallet are the instantaneous shifts between jazz-rock fusion, modern straight-ahead jazz and chamber. And it’s not a seamless transition. Its suddenness is jarring. Initially, those quick changes are a bit off-putting, but time and familiarity with the quintet’s methods take some of the edge off, and the distinct before and after pictures between music expressions becomes increasingly fun and intriguing. Worth noting that Sallet’s name isn’t new to these parts; he’s a member of the Anne Quillier 6tet and Trio Enchant(i)er.
Hubert Dupont – Golan / Al Joulan Vol.2 (Ultrack)
A very cool mix of jazz and Middle-Eastern music on this live set from bassist Hubert Dupont. The folk influence comes on strong, but the assertive voice of the modern jazz side of things is an excellent counterweight, and together the two influences combine for some textured melodies and a propulsive rhythmic force. At times, the music attains a cinematic allure, hinting at imagery for a film never recorded. Oudist Ahmad Al Khatib, percussionist Youssef Hbeisch, flautist Naïssam Jalal, violinist Zied Zouari and clarinetist Matthieu Donarier comprise the Golan project. There’s a Volume 1 also available, but I feel that it lacked the focus of its counterpart, was more diffuse in presentation and structure. Still, though, pretty intriguing.
Ed Neumeister & hit NeuHat Ensemble – Wake Up Call (Meistero Music)
Enjoyable big band session that attains the right balance between textural density and fluid motion. A mix of traditional and modern conventions, and Neumeister’s NeuHat Ensemble deftly blurs the line between the two so that the transitions are subtle and, consequently, dramatic in an odd sort of way. He brings an all-star line-up that includes names like Adam Kolker, Billy Drewes, Dick Oatts, John Hollenbeck, Hans Glawischnig and a bunch of other musicians who’ve received praise on this site.