The Round-up: Hello, nostalgia


Because there’s not enough time for everything.

Here’s some new music I like.  I wanted to give these albums a mention, no matter how brief.  Let’s begin…


Josiah Woodson – Suite Elemental (Truth Revolution Records)

One of the more overlooked qualities of the 1970s-1980s recordings of Miles Davis is how their imagic nature implied an imaginary storyline, or, similarly, that a movie might be later filmed as an afterthought to these de facto soundtracks.  I can’t help but be reminded of it after listening to the debut from trumpeter Josiah Woodson.  As it so happens, Suite Elemental is based on the story of a prince becoming a king.  That said, the album’s roaming melodies and tempos that stretch out to touch the farthest horizons and how harmonies emerge like character backstories and the auguries of plot twists, the music is likely to inspire individualized daydreams, which means a choose-your-own-adventure story for each and every listener, unique to them and only them.  Joining Woodson on the journey are pianist Daniel Gassin, bassist Zacharie Abraham, drummer Laurent-Emmanuel “Tilo” Bertholo and a bunch of different guests.

Artist site | Listen | Buy: BandcampAmazon


The New Playground – The New Playground (Self-Produced)

The renditions of standards are both fun and intriguing on this three-track EP from the Montreal-based trio of The New Playground.  Guitarist Marc-Antoine Bourgeois, bassist Francis Viau and drummer Guillaume Joseph give atypically modern takes on “Darn that Dream,” “On Green Dolphin Street” and “How Insensitive.”  However, while the sound ultimately presents itself as quite different, the trio’s melodic-focused approach is spot on consistent with standards who put the melody front-and-center.  Worth noting that, on Bandcamp, this album is set to Name Your Price (NYP).

Artist site | Listen | Buy: Bandcamp


Charlie Bates Quartet – Changes (Bojangles Records)

An enjoyable straight-ahead session from pianist Charlie Bates, alto saxophonist Tom Niblock, bassist Aram Bahmaie and drummer Charlie Johnson.  The first two tracks on this three-track EP have the warmth & groove of a classic Hard Bop session, but some of the melodic development hints at a 1970s evolution, when the bop ensembles tried to stay as bop ensembles but still pined for some of the freedom experienced by their avant-garde and inside-out counterparts.  The third track doesn’t deviate much from the first two, but firmly situates itself in modern territory.  Bates also a new big band recording (check it out on Bandcamp) that sounds promising.  Both albums feature musicians from the Birmingham, UK scene.

Artist site | Listen | Buy: Bandcamp


Eyot – Innate (Ninety & Nine Records)

I’ve always found the jazz-rock fusion of Serbian quartet Eyot pretty damn enjoyable.  Each successive recording sees them working increasingly contemporary material, but they always have just enough edge to give a burnish to that fusion shine.  The typical pattern is dish out a crisp melody and then go to town wildly developing it in any direction that seems fun.  The quartet is pianist Dejan Ilijic, guitarist Sladjan Milenovic, drummer Milos Vojvodic and bassist Marko Stojiljkovic.  Anytime I hear something new from Eyot, it makes me want to go back and revisit their 2010 debut Horizon.  You maybe should consider doing the same (check it out on Bandcamp).

Artist site | Listen | BuyBandcampAmazon


Martin Gohary’s Death Wish – The Ayahuasca Day Trip (Self-Produced)

The sextet of keyboardist Martin Gohary, drummer Al Nawrocki, electric bassist Evan MacLeod, trumpeter Josh McDonald, flautist Bob Zabielski and percussionist Fernando Perez dig into some space-y grooves and Latin beats in this throwback sound of 1970s Latin jazz fusion.  The stronger tracks are those that focus more on the melody than on the groove, but all of this is pretty enjoyable.  Make ya a little nostalgic, too.  Worth noting that, on Bandcamp, this album is set to Name Your Price (NYP).

Artist site | Listen | BuyBandcamp | Amazon