The Round-up: The sky was on fire, and joy was in our blood


Here is some very good new music.


Hear In Now – Not Living In Fear (International Anthem)

There’s a brutality and a grace to this work from the Hear In Now trio of violinist Mazz Swift, cellist Tomeka Reid and double bassist Silvia Bolognesi.  Sometimes jagged melodies lash out and strike and other times they are as soft to the touch as moonlight on naked skin, and just as magical.  This music transcends genre and influence.  It would be easy to mention modern jazz and classical and avant-folk, but when it comes to music that makes grand statements, itemizing its components undersells its true impact.  Dissonance and unity sweep back and forth like the tides, and it’s those exact moments when those elements exist in a state of complete equality that the album resonates the strongest.  Vocalist Dee Alexander sits in for the title-track, adding further texture to an album that’s got plenty to its name.

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Papanosh – A Chicken in a Bottle (Label Vibrant)

Terrifically effusive session from the Papanosh quintet of saxophonist Raphaël Quenehen, bassist Thibault Cellier, percussionist Jérémie Piazza, pianist Sébastien Palis and trumpeter Quentin Ghomari.  Even when they slow things down and let the melody breathe on tracks like “Plain Gold Ring” and “Hermanos,” there’s a sense of a simmer ready to boil over at any moment.  The heart of this album, however, lies in the upbeat title-track.  The album shifts imperceptibly between old and modern schools of jazz, with hard bop, soul, funk and post-bop all just textures to paint a solitary picture.  Every moment of this album seems designed to get each and every one of you dancing.  A very fun recording.

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Arthur Vint & Associates – Death Rides A Horse (Ropeadope)

Last year, Arthur Vint released a very fun, very intriguing debut Through the Badlands (go check it out).  It was an album that captured the spirit of the land and music of both his Tuscon, Arizona and NYC home turfs.  It also earned the #27 slot on this site’s Best of 2016 list.  On his follow-up, he keeps with the country-folk-jazz sound.  He also brings new arrangements to the soundtracks of Ennio Morricone originally created for the Sergio Leone trilogy, Man With No Name.  It’s plenty enjoyable, though lacks some of the inspired moments and sense of freedom of his debut.  It wouldn’t be poorly argued to attribute this change to the fact that the debut had Vint original compositions, and it also wouldn’t be wrong to hope to see more of Vint’s own work on his next recording.  Plenty here to like, though.  All-stars like Jon Cowherd, Tony Scherr and Yvonnick Prene are among Vint’s Associates.

Artist site | Listen | Buy:  Bandcamp – Amazon


Will Wedmedyk – Awakening (Self-Produced)

Plenty to like from the debut by vibraphonist Will Wedmedyk.  His quintet sticks to modern territory and a straight-ahead sound, even when he blurs the lines between post-bop and pop.  The stronger pieces are those that lead out with a conceptualized version of an ultimate melody… not quite a fragment, not quite a finished product… and then just begins exploring all the possible directions to take it.  Wedmedyk’s quintet is a nice glimpse at the music scene happening at the University of Cincinnati.

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Ichiro Fujiya & Takeshi Kurihara – Elephant and a Barbar (Musilogue)

There’s a dreamy presence to this album that is seriously arresting.  Led out by the bassist-sax duo of Ichiro Fujiya and Takeshi Kurihara, this quintet makes a lullaby out of each melody and the rhythms like the comforting sounds of raindrops on a windowsill.  There’s a flash of edge from time to time, but nothing that ranges far from the prevailing tranquility that defines this recording.  Interesting music coming out of Tokyo, Japan.

Artist site | Listen | Buy:  Bandcamp