Oct 30 2017
Here is some very good new music.
Daniel Foose – of Water and Ghosts (BJU Records)
There’s both turmoil and tranquility to the latest from bassist Daniel Foose. Considering that he returned to his roots along the Mississippi Delta and built of Water and Ghosts on the juxtaposed themes of the area’s societal injustices and natural beauty, that the music’s hypnotic flame also burns hot shouldn’t come as a surprise. Foose meshes an ensemble comprised of a string quartet and a bass-percussion-guitar trio, and a big reason this work is so captivating is how those two components sometimes behave as crashing tides and sometimes as a single confluence of expression.
Jonathan Rowden Group – Skyward Eye (Orenda Records)
Jonathan Rowden‘s music has always possessed a visceral punch, so in that way, Skyward Eye falls in line with past recordings. However, on his newest, the textures are softer and less emphasis is placed on the edge of the blade and more focus on its polish. As a result, the ambient soundscapes present in prior works are now front and center. And when the music does break into something delivered as a bundled structure, it has that particular boost of tranquility to be expected from John Surman’s moodier works. Repeat testing allows me to recommend this music for cloudy mornings or drives through scenic countryside.
Roxy Coss – Chasing the Unicorn (Posi-Tone Records)
Here’s a nice example of how a straight-ahead jazz album can be given a personality that comes off as something other than straight-forward. Roxy Coss casts ripples out across the surface of the pond, one after the other, and the way it sharpens the brilliance of the melodies and deepens the resonance of the harmonies is why Chasing the Unicorn carries with such great strength. The rhythmic hopscotch on a rendition of Joe Henderson’s “A Shade of Jade” and the weary blues applied to the Beatles’ “Oh! Darling” and intricate melodic weave of her own “Free to Be” are just a few of the distinguishing marks of the solid new release from the saxophonist. Plenty to like about Coss’s 2016 release Restless Idealism, but her newest is a serious step up.
Greg Duncan & The Individuation Quintet – Unification (Self-Produced)
There’s a night-on-the-town excitement to the latest from Greg Duncan. Whether the trumpeter is kicking up some dust on the speedy “Anima” or gently exhaling a heartbreak melody on “Constellated,” there’s a transmission of heavy voltage with each expression. There’s some old-school swing and some new-school edge, and all in all, Unification keeps to heart of jazz and the pulse that’s familiar to all of its eras. The album is an homage to psychologist Carl Jung, which adds intrigue to the music’s context, but, conversely, isn’t requirement for its enjoyment. Worth noting that Duncan’s 2012 release Chicago, Barcelona Connections still comes with a strong recommendation.
Adam Schneit Band – Light Shines In (Fresh Sound New Talent)
The voice of the melody transmits with plenty of strength on Adam Schneit‘s latest, but rarely does it come out the other side with the same shape or focus with which it began. It’s as if the saxophonist’s quartet sends those melodies through a wind tunnel or a kaleidoscope or dunks it underwater, because time and again, it presents as misshapen and warped and cloaked in shadow. This particular sleight of hand is what gives the music its personality, and separates it from similar modern works that unfold a bit more by-the-numbers. The saxophonist is joined bassist Eivind Opsvik, guitarist Sean Moran and drummer Kenny Wollesen… three musicians who have made a career out of altering melodic perceptions.