The Round-up: You are not alone


Here is some very good new music.


Myk Freedman and the MykfreedmansMyk Freedman and the Mykfreedmans (HappyLucky No.1 Records)

It’s pretty easy to warm up to this jazz-folk crossover from lap steel guitarist Myk Freedman.  The opening notes promise a friendly, tuneful recording, and that’s exactly what his sextet delivers.  The swing of “At Whom The Fuck Are You Looking?” and the sway of “Waiting For A Train That Will Never Come” have an inviting motion and a friendly smile that sets the tone.  A little twang on the slow dancer “What Are You Thinking When You’re Kissing” and a little heat on the burner “Junkshop Virginia” are just facets of that same personality, and snap neatly into place.  The Mykfreedmans are tenor saxophonist Patrick Breiner, drummer Carlo Costa, bassist Adam Hopkins, trumpeter Kenny Warren and banjo player Jason Vance.  Half of the sextet also comprise part of Kenny Warren’s Laila & Smitty project, so it should come as no surprise were I to describe the two albums as birds of a feather.  Seriously enjoyable.

Artist site | Listen | Buy:  BandcampAmazon


Redwine, Barbiero, Matis – Microeconomics (Self-Produced)

This intriguing session from the trio of clarinetist Ben Redwine, bassist Daniel Barbiero and pianist Jonathan Matis encapsulates the jazz spirit of Redwine’s New Orleans home turf.  This melting pot of influences is just as happy dishing out a rag as they are randomness.  The trio’s Washington DC-Baltimore contingent snap right into place with an improvisational nature of this recording, as well as the strong presence of a Classical grace throughout.  The album’s best moments are when all of those influences are a swirling mist of motion and expression, one bleeding into the next, and a state of change is the only constant.  And if this floats your boat, it’ll be worth your time to check out the DC Improvisers Collective… an outfit all three members have contributed some notes to.

Artist site | Listen | Buy:  BandcampAmazon


Jake Leckie Quartet – Live at Ibeam (Self-Produced)

Plenty to like on this live session from the quartet of bassist Jake K. Leckie, drummer Nathan Ellman-Bell, pianist Sebastien Ammann and trumpeter Kenny Warren.  This 2017 performance at Brooklyn’s Ibeam is a nice straight-ahead affair, but mixes things up just enough that there’s something different to like about each track.  There’s the hard bop warmth of “Negev,” the scattered randomness of “Major Monster,” the Brazilian influence of “Caracol,” and the folksy groove of “Métis” and how it echoes the heart and soul of Keith Jarrett’s American Quartet Impulse recordings.  But influence aside, this is an extremely enjoyable recording of four musicians who just sound like they’re having a blast, completely in sync with one another, and feeding off the electricity of a Friday night in NYC.

Artist site | Listen | Buy:  Bandcamp


Maistah Aphrica – Maistah Aphrica (Self-Produced)

There’s an easy appeal to this mix of modern jam jazz, afrobeat, funk and psychedelia.  Tempos are upbeat and move fast on their feet.  Rhythms fly in all directions, and melodies follow fast after.  The octet Maistah Aphrica is heavy on the wind instruments and percussion, but the multiple keyboards are the glue that gets all the influences to stick.  Really fun recording.  Also, nice to offer something from the Balombo, Angola scene.

Artist site | Listen | Buy:  Bandcamp


Chok Kerong – Tales They Told Me (Self-Produced)

Nifty straight-ahead organ-guitar-drums session. Some soul, some blues, and plenty of bop to keep the music scooting along.  Chok Kerong slides over to piano, but the music shows its best when it’s that genial warmth between organ and guitar.  Nothing groundbreaking here, just a familiar, enjoyable sound.  Plus, it’s an nice opportunity to give a shout-out to music coming from Singapore.

Artist site | Listen | Buy:  BandcampAmazon