Jun 4 2018
Here is some very good new music.
Walter Smith III – TWIO (Whirlwind Recordings)
You really can’t go wrong with this set from Walter Smith III. This is for those times when you just want to hear some serious tenor saxophone lyricism… perhaps something original and new and perhaps some new takes on old classics. That’s what you get with TWIO. I’m always down with a saxophonist’s take on a Monk tune; something about how the wind instrument floats like a butterfly when applying Monk’s skittering melodicism makes tracing the flight patterns a real delight. Smith’s cover of “Ask Me Know” is Exhibit A for why I gravitate to that combo. But it’s Smith’s canny rendition of Wayne Shorter’s “Adam’s Apple” that shines brightest on this recording, and how an icy melody slowly dissolves into a rhythmic mist. Drummer Eric Harland and bassist Harish Raghavan round out Smith’s trio, with Christian McBride and Joshua Redman guesting on bass and tenor sax. Music from Los Angeles.
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Kekko Fornarelli – Abaton (Eskape Music)
Kekko Fornarelli has always had a flair for the dramatic. The key to the pianist’s success is his talent for pushing the emotional intensity to the very edge and never sacrificing its sincerity. His 2011 release Room of Mirrors still stands as the embodiment of that trait, but his newest release has plenty of moments that match it. A rendition of Beck’s “Lonesome Tears” is the most obvious example, and the one most likely to resonate strongest. And, just as Beck did on Sea Change, Fornarelli brings in a string section for this session. Fornarelli’s trio is comprised of himself on piano, bassist Federico Pecoraro and drummer Dario Congedo. Music from Bari, Italy.
Fabien Mary Octet – Left Arm Blues (Jazz & People)
Nice throwback sound from trumpeter Fabien Mary, who hits the sweet spot where the consideration of arrangements allow the free flowing expressionism of bop to thrive. It’s an album where the simple joy of thoughtful solos is all the reason you need to hit the play button. And it’s always nice to hear Thomas Savy in action, this time with baritone sax (instead of bass clarinet), and part of an octet that comes strong with the brass (five vs. guitar, bass and drums).
Giacomo Zanus Trio – Searching for the North (Self-Produced)
Why, yes, if your album reminds me of various Bill Frisell works, I will gladly say something nice about it. With its moments of looping effects and bracing tranquility and a lively hop, this trio set by the Giacomo Zanus Trio was right up my alley. How this music resonates from the slightest of gestures, like a fiercely burning ember in a cold fireplace, is its winning quality. The pieces that hit more straight-ahead territory are all well and good, but those tunes that echo the music of Frisell’s In Line and Ghost Town are when this album shines its strongest. All of these Frisell references should in no way obscure the fact that Zanus is expressing his own voice and his own point of view. It’s also an especially nice touch when Zanus switches over the classical guitar, as are those tracks when David Boato sits in on trumpet and flugelhorn. Double bassist Mattia Magatelli and drummer Max Trabucco round out the trio. Music from Treviso, Italy.
Zach’s Moonshine Runners – Bootleg 11-18-2017 (Self-Produced)
There’s an appealing languid atmosphere to this music, even though it moves predominately at a brisk pace. Zacharie Bachand‘s sextet works straight-ahead territory, though sometimes that’s in an old-school context and sometimes a modern one. Two saxophones and a trombone give the music plenty of harmonic loft to just float away upon, while guitar, bass and drums keep things focused and upbeat. It’s retailing at Name Your Price, so you have a nice opportunity to explore new music at a price you can afford. Music from Montreal, Québec.