Jan 16 2017
André Matos – Múquina (Self-Produced)
The music of André Matos is often pretty damn enchanting. In fact, the most striking quality of the music from the Portuguese guitarist is that even when he turns up the heat or accentuates the character of a particular piece, there’s an abiding tranquility that borders, at times, on hypnotic. But his newest album Múquina is an entirely new plateau. This solo set dives headfirst into ambient waters. Yes, a track like “Cavalos Selvagens” flashes some teeth, but far and away, the typical form of expression on this recording is one that wouldn’t disturb the flight pattern of a snowflake as it gently arcs toward a winter landscape. And that’s exactly the type of scene you’ll want this lovely recording to accompany. Just gorgeous. Music from NYC.
Your album personnel: André Matos (guitar).
Toms Lipskis Quintet – Holographic Projections (Self-Produced)
This straight-ahead session from Toms Lipskis is plenty nice when it just sticks to the middle of the road, but that the bassist stretches out a bit by adding in a string quartet and the occasional burst of dissonance, it allows the music’s personality to really emerge. Both the strings and dissonance are utilized economically, which works to the benefit of the core quintet and their voice being front and center. Nothing groundbreaking here, just a pleasant jazz album that deserves some attention. Music from the Latvia scene.
Your album personnel: Toms Lipskis (double bass), Dāvis Jurka (tenor sax), Oskars Ozoliņš (trumpet), Dāvis Bindemanis (piano), Rūdolfs Dankfelds (drums), Aleksejs Bahirs (violin), Ivars Brīnums (violin), Zane Dziesma (viola) and Jānis Pauls (cello).
Audace – Laperirostum (Self-Produced)
I found this duo collaboration of clarinetist Manabu Kitada and accordionist Shiko Ito rather enchanting. The pairing of clarinet’s dancing melodicm and the thick harmonic drone of accordion provide all kinds of complementary and contrasting elements. The music itself is almost fully improvised, but it was the cut-and-paste of studio manipulation that endowed the music with its spellbinding qualities. Music from the Tokyo scene.
Your album personnel: Manabu Kitada (clarinet) and Shiko Ito (accordion).
Kungobram – Night in Panam (Self-Produced)
The immediate imprint made by this delightful recording is that there is going to be one catchy groove after the next. And it’s true, there is. But it’s the way that the sextet Kungobram threads the melodies through those grooves that embodies this album’s truest reason for joy. At the center of it all is Yan Lebreton’s kamalengoni, an African rhythm harp. It’s ability to contribute equally to both rhythmic and melodic aspects, often simultaneously, is a big reason for the perfect unison. A pair of saxophones add a harmonic component that sometimes has a personality all its own. Everything about this album is fun, and it’s whip smart, to boot. Music from the Paris scene.
Your album personnel: Yan Lebreton (kamalengoni), Benjamin Moroy (guitar), Guillaume Duval (double bass), Mathias Wallerand (baritone sax), Florian Chouraqui (drums), Adrien Roch (tenor & soprano saxophones).
Niran Dasika & Mateusz Gwizdałła – Silver Letters (Self-Produced)
A really nice jazz-classical crossover recording, where each influence is given equal voice, but rarely do they both express it in a straight-ahead fashion simultaneously. Trumpeter Niran Dasika and conductor Mateusz Gwizdalla launch the nonet through a series of unexpected plot twists, and the story of the song rarely ends up in a place that the beginning hinted at. The brass quintet has an impressive presence, but doesn’t throw it around blithely, which is why it marries so well with the melodic dexterity conveyed by the guitarist. And even with all of the music’s unpredictability, the ensemble conjures up harmonic passages that melt with the beauty of a candle from its own heat. Music from the Melbourne scene.
Your album personnel: Mateusz Gwizdałła (conductor), Niran Dasika (trumpet), Lauren McAlister (trumpet), Alden Cai (horn), Josh Bennier (trombone), James Littlewood (bass trombone), Nick Kyritsis (guitar), Rohan Dasika (bass) and Kieran Rafferty (drums)