The Round-up: When you’re always in transit, Via is home


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


RMV Trio – Desde la lluvia (CHT Records)

The more I listen to this trio set from pianist Yago Vázquez, bassist Pablo Menares and drummer Rodrigo Recabarren, the more I’m taken by the seamless method in which the trio shifts between South American and NYC articulations.  Regardless the direction they take, the trio offers up resonant melodies that sparkle and shine bright and effortlessly fall into place with the particular rhythmic approach of the moment.  These modulations often happen within the span of a single song, which amplifies the marvel of the subtle transformations that much more.  Carlos Lobo adds a solid spoken word contribution with some García Lorca poetry, and that’s just one example of the lovely nuance of this under-the-radar recording.

Artist site | Listen | Buy:  Bandcamp


Dominic Lash Quartet – Extremophile (Iluso Records)

Everything about the sophomore recording of bassist Dominic Lash gives the impression of being stuck in between.  There’s the sense that midway through a transformation from one type of jazz expression to another, the quartet looked around at the environment of its transitory state and said, yeah, we’ll just hang out here from now on.  It’s why no one particular school of jazz ever takes precedence over its counterparts and none ever sound fully fleshed out.  This isn’t a case of something old and something new coexisting peaceably… this fascinating album presents facets never fully realized and, consequently, always full of intrigue and leaving the ear guessing.  The flirtation with the blues in “Mr. S.B.” and the vague post-bop of “Fumeux Fume” are equally misshapen as the guitar splatters of “Puddle Ripple,” the animal whines of “Pálpito” and the rock ‘n drone of “Slailing.”  The album is in a perpetual state of change, frozen in time.  Pretty damn cool, that.

Artist site | Listen | Buy:  Bandcamp


Eskelin Weber Griener – Sensations of Tone (Intakt Records)

I’ve always found the music of Ellery Eskelin particularly enchanting.  But this isn’t your typical fairy tale enchantment, because the saxophonist typically immerses himself in sounds more akin to the poison apple… nutritious, refreshing, and prone to rewiring your brain in accordance with devious schematics.  The nutritious part of that equation is that he often roots himself to the blues, even in the midst of heavy avant-garde expressionism.  It’s why this trio set with bassist Christian Weber and drummer Michael Griener makes logical sense as a project theme.  They alternate between traditional and free music forms, and often let the contradictory approaches commingle.  And when the result is a state of unison, no matter how unsteady it may be, seeing the connecting points between the different schools of thought is more than a bit revealing.  Also, just in terms of musicianship, it’s a pleasure to hear these guys just go to town.

Artist site | Listen | Buy:  BandcampAmazon


Chip Wickham – La Sombra (Lovemonk)

There’s an intriguing blend of spiritual jazz tone and hard bop groove on the debut release of Chip Wickham.  The saxophonist-flautist is a veteran of the scenes, all scenes, as the decades see him contributing to the work of everybody from Matthew Halsall to Badly Drawn Boy.  Originally part of the Manchester scene and then to Madrid and now in Doha, Qatar, the geographical changes are emblematic of the nuance with which Wickham’s quartet alters its style from piece to piece without causing a sea change in sound.  When Wickham modulates his flute to mirror the icy tones of vibraphone, the music resonates like crazy.  Same can be said when he switches over to sax and matches the galloping strides of piano.  At year end, when the various Best Of lists hit the streets, there’s gonna be a writer or two that includes La Sombra in their top ten.  That inclusion won’t be considered a reach.

Artist site | Listen | Buy:  BandcampAmazon


My Name is Nobody – My Name is Nobody (Self-Produced)

An easy-to-like session from drummer Ben Vanderwal, pianist Tom O’Halloran and guitarist Lucky Oceans.  It’s that last instrument that sketches out the personality of the recording, via Oceans’ pedal steel and National guitars, as well as a number of guests bringing in other varietals of the stringed instrument.  There’s also some mild electronics and production applied tastefully… modifications that would fall under the category of atmospherics.  Sometimes the music is a vague sort of folk-jazz and other times it hits a mainstream tone.  There’s a few tracks that lead to the observation that perhaps a little editing would’ve been greatly helpful to the album overall, but that criticism is outnumbered by some very enjoyable tunes.  A nice view of music coming from the Perth, Australia scene.

Artist site | Listen | Buy: Bandcamp