Aug 14 2017
Here is some very good new music.
Jim Black – Malamute (Intakt Records)
There’s a magnetic charm to the way Malamute simultaneously sighs and growls out a melody. The quartet of drummer Jim Black, saxophonist Óskar Guðjónsson, bassist Chris Tordini and keyboardist Elias Stemeseder mesh ambient Icelandic jazz and blunt NYC edge into the same expressions, and the tonal contrast carries equal weight to their fascinating complementary interactions. The ratio of each aspect shifts back and forth within the span of a song, and often quite dramatically. Healthy infusions of electronic effects and samples bolster the organic instrumentation, and how they jostle for position is especially fun. Nothing simple about this music, but the quartet’s delivery sure gives that impression. Connections made easy.
Sam Newsome – Sopranoville (Self-Produced)
The sub-title for this new exploration from saxophonist Sam Newsome is New Works for Prepared and non-Prepared Saxophone. The scholarly vibe is accurate in its representation of what this album has got to give. Not all of it is pretty, but all of it is compelling. Newsome is willing and able to throw a punch with his soprano sax. Sometimes he challenges the concept of music. There’s 22 tracks and most clock in at less than two minutes. There’s some overdubbing and some match-ups with other instruments. Newsome likes to experiment, and part of the joy of his recordings are just simply seeing what shakes out. I’m not sure that this album is meant to be enjoyed as music, but offered up with the goal to excite and inspire and illustrate the boundlessness of creativity… and if you enjoy it, so much the better. An easy recommendation, as Newsome’s music often is.
Andy Emler – Running Backwards (La Buissonne Label)
Composer Andy Emler doesn’t do anything normal, even when it sometimes sounds that way. The pianist front-loads his pieces with all kinds of personality and textures, and they can range from massive statements to the most delicate nuance… and all of it resonates like mad. To be honest, his newest release isn’t really among my favorite recordings, but every new Emler recording is noteworthy, and I’m happy for every opportunity to draw attention to his music. Running Backward features a quartet with guitarist Marc Ducret, bassist Claude Tchamitchian and drummer Eric Echampard. The music is very disjointed, and the melodies never seem to congeal into something one could hope to embrace, but there is a particular allure to that inaccessibility, and it can compel a strong need to examine every facet of every note in the hope of truly getting to know and understand what this music is all about.
Proyecto Reutemann – Proyecto Reutemann (Discos ICM)
A very cool modern fusion session from the Proyecto Reutemann ensemble of trumpeter Matias Rivara, saxophonist Hernan Torres, guitarist Gaston de la Cruz, bassist Maxi Castillo and drummer Joaquin Waiman. The influence of their Mar Del Plata, Argentina home turf is evident throughout. What also shines through strong is how this quintet’s nonchalant delivery feeds into its loose grooves and catchy melodies, creating a music unison that is both addictive ear candy and structurally unbound creativity. This is the second release on the (new to me) Discos ICM label, and I am now feeling very motivated to start digging into their catalog to see what else there is to spotlight.
FB&I Trio – Live in Belgium and France (Self-Produced)
Pretty straight-forward piano session, and pretty typical to the modern scene. The trio digs into a melody and doesn’t ever come up for a breath, and anything else that wants to participate does so at the service of that melody. The FB&I Trio are plenty good at this formula on this collection of live performances. Those melodies are more than a bit pretty and more than a bit catchy, and everything about the way they go about their business seems intended to make the kind of music good for just kicking back and letting go. Nothing groundbreaking here by any means, but it’s good to have this kind of album in your music library. Plenty here to like.