The Round-up: Looking to the future, we saw the past stretched out before us


Here is some very good new music.


Alexi Tuomarila – Kingdom (Edition Records)

This new release from Alexi Tuomarila dishes out some seriously vivid imagery.  Melodies are like live wires and rhythms are the snap of their sparks, and all of it crackles with ceaseless energy.  The pianist’s 2013 release Seven Hills was pretty damn good in its own right, but with this new recording, his trio with bassist Mats Eilertsen and drummer Olavi Louhivuori really sound to be gelling.  There’s a presence to this music that transcends the depth of its beauty.  And one other thing… when it comes to bassists and their solos, not many are able to generate a wealth of riches from an economy of sound quite like Mats Eilertsen.  A wonderful recording.

Artist site | Listen | Buy:  BandcampAmazon


Rasmus Oppenhagen Krogh – Distill (Centrifuga)

There’s an appealing instability to the melodies of Distill, as if they might come apart at the seams at any moment, or, perhaps, that they are merely dreams of melodies that fade away with wakefulness.  The quartet of guitarist Rasmus Oppenhagen Krogh, bassist Anders Christensen, drummer Oliver Louis Brostrøm Laumann and trumpeter Kasper Tranberg maintain a tranquil ambiance for the duration of the recording, so the album doesn’t really suffer from the absence of any truly striking moments of beauty, because the atmospherics instill the kind of moody serenity to just kick back and bliss out to.

Artist site | Listen | Buy:  Bandcamp


Heisenberg Uncertainty Players – We Tear Down Our Coliseums (Self-Produced)

Chicago-area composer John Dorhauer has been on my radar for a little while now, as has the music from his Heisenberg Uncertainty Players, so I’m pleased to finally make the introductions here in today’s column.  This live performance just this year at Elmhurst College’s Mill Theater of his baseball stadium themed project displays plenty of the quirkiness to be found in his compositions, and it’s the kind of thing that leads to all kinds of fun.  But what I adore most about this current recording is how he threads the most lovely melodic tones through the thick warmth of the big band pieces.  Opening track “Royals” gets right to evidencing that point, but it’s the powerfully concise beauty of “Plasma” that catches the ear, hook line and sinker.  Be sure to check out the artist link below… it leads to some nifty photo art of the stadiums that inspired the music.

Artist site | Listen | Buy:  Bandcamp


Almeida Amado Franco – The Attic (Self-Produced)

This live trio session doesn’t hold back any punches.  Bassist Gonçalo Almeida, tenor saxophonist Rodrigo Amado and drummer Marco Franco throw a series of hooks on “Shadow,” work side-to-side on “Hole,” lay on the inside on “Spring,” work the body on “Board,” and let it all go for the final bell on “Nail,” and every punch is thrown like they mean it.  When the trio settles into a boozy melodicism at the 5-minute mark of the opening track, and the bass arco and tenor sax solo mix like ice and fire, damn, it’s a thing of beauty.  Some solid free jazz ferocity, and yet more cool music coming out of Portugal.

Artist site | Listen | Buy:  Bandcamp


Woody Black 4 – Curiosity (Unit Records)

It’s as delightful as watching shadows and sunlight dance upon a wood floor.  The clarinets and bass clarinets of the Wood Black 4 can sure deliver a pretty melody, but the joy is listening to them under construction.  The rhythm as the shaping force is nifty as hell, but the aftereffects drifting down as lovely harmonies is what clinches the album’s success.  Oscar Antoli, Stephan Dickbauer, Daniel Moser and Leonhard Skorupa crafted an album that possesses the solemn tones for early mornings and the liveliness for a late-night listen.

Artist site | Listen | Buy: BandcampAmazon