Mar 26 2015
This is a good week for those of you who prefer your music to wander out to the fringes and take an unconventional path getting there. Many of the albums recommended from this week’s batch of new jazz releases will satisfy that particular craving. That said, there’s a couple excellent options for those who prefer their jazz come at them like a fastball right over the center of the plate.
Nobody gets left out of the recommendations column. I’ll always find something you like. With that thought in mind…
*** Pick of the Week ***
Ben Goldberg – Orphic Machine
Goldberg has always been the inventive sort, but it’s his way of being sneakily avant-garde that should earn him the most praise. His ability to render challenging music into something quite embraceable is no easy thing, but that Goldberg does it one project after the other is a considerable feat. His newest has him putting to music the words of his former teacher’s book about the art of poetry. Joined by a very strong cast (Ron Miles, Myra Melford, Kenny Wollesen, Ches Smith, Greg Cohen, Rob Sudduth and Carla Kihlstedt), Goldberg turns the didactic into the kind of creative inspiration that the lyric’s source material instructed upon.
Read more about this album on Bird is the Worm this Monday, March 30th.
*** This week’s featured albums ***
Petros Sakelliou – Visual Music Circus (Self-Produced)
A very cool perspective from pianist & composer Sakelliou, who nicely fuses Mediterranean, Afro-Latin, jazz and classical into a singular expression. His large ensemble, strong on the reeds & strings, deftly gives a light touch to a big sound. Whimsical, enlightening and inventive. Expect to read more about this album on Bird is the Worm in the coming weeks.
Max Frankl – Fernweh (Unit Records)
Read more about this album on Bird is the Worm (LINK).
Yves Rousseau 4tet – Akasha (Abalone)
Stunning chamber jazz session from bassist Rousseau’s quartet (which includes drummer Christophe Marguet, violinist Regis Huby and saxophonist Jean-Marc Larche). Vivid harmonic passages are the glue between strong melodic surges and punctuated rhythms. Strength and beauty.
Ryan Truesdell’s Gil Evans Project – Lines of Color (Blue Note/ArtistShare)
A live performance of Truesdell’s Gil Evans project that’s no less brilliant than its studio companion. The orchestra’s big sound is made unimposing by its abundance of warmth. An amazing album that repeatedly provides a sense of liftoff.
Aaron Comess – Aaron Comess Quintet (Innsbruck)
Very likable live sets from drummer Comess. Covers of Coltrane’s “Resolution” and Harris’s “Freedom Jazz Dance” are excellent centerpieces for the straight-ahead originals. Vibrant music with plenty of heart.
George Crowley – Can of Worms (Whirlwind)
An interesting session from saxophonist Crowley’s quintet. Twin tenor sax formation leads to some nifty solos and warm harmonies. Those tunes where he launches off from standard post-bop to fuzzier forms of jazz/not-jazz is where the album really takes off.
Clara Haberkamp Trio – You Sea! (Laika)
A pleasant easy-going nature to Haberkamp’s newest, which gives the piano trio format some disjointed and rambunctious moments that ratchet up the album’s personality. Strong melodic treatments add contrast, especially when the vocals enter at unexpected intervals. Plenty here to like.
Beppe di Benedetto 5tet – Another Point of View (TRJ Records)
Solid new release from trombonist di Benedetto. Like his solid 2012 release See the Sky, his quintet generates plenty of warmth and buoyant energy. Straight-ahead jazz that speaks to both old- and new-school forms of expression.
Kevin Eubanks & Stanley Jordan – Duets (Mack Avenue)
Remarkably engaging duo guitar set from two vets of the jazz scene. Tunes possess a peaceful easy-going ambiance, even when the duo tackles the complexities of a composition or just decides to bring some heat. Quite beautiful.
Download a free album track at Eubanks’ site (LINK).
The Ordinary Square – When In Paris (Hoob)
Engrossing modern straight-ahead set from this Swedish quartet (sax, piano, drums, bass). When they turn up the heat, it keeps to a comfortable warmth and when they enter a moody phase, the music stays sufficiently sunny to keep away the sadness. Nice rainy-day music.
Chris McNulty – Eternal (Palmetto)
Rather struck by the accompaniment of vocalist McNulty’s trio as well as the chamber orchestra. There’s a subdued grace to the music, even as it gives the impression of a sweeping majesty. Pretty music that stays sincere.
Reggie Quinerly – Invictus (Self-Produced)
Drummer Quinerly’s newest is noticeably more standard modern fare than his excellent 2012 release, Music Inspired by Freedmantown. That said, it’s plenty likable, and radiates a real friendly sort of energy. Warren Wolf’s work on vibes are an absolute delight on this session.
Have a great time digging through the list!
And remember, it’s simple: You like what you like.