Mar 21 2015
This was a busy week. I finally just had to call it quits, but I’m shaking my head and looking at the albums that I didn’t have time to include in this week’s column. I might have to do a Part B addendum at some point.
But let’s talk about the albums that are included in this week’s This Is Jazz Today recommendations column. There’s a very nice mix of sounds this week, really representing the depth and diversity of the modern scene. One of those weeks where there really is something for everyone.
*** Pick of the Week ***
Jakob Bro – Gefion
A gorgeous new album from guitarist Jakob Bro, who has repeatedly shown a talent for bringing a melodic liveliness to serene music. His newest features his strangely alluring mix of jazz and folk and ambient soundscapes. And though it possesses the ingredients that typically complete your basic Nordic Jazz recording, Bro’s expressionism doesn’t fit so neatly into that general category. Even when he’s being structurally obtuse, his music possesses a form and presence and melodic incisiveness that proves elusive to categorization. His newest has him in a trio formation, joined by bassist Thomas Morgan and drummer Jon Christensen. Just too beautiful.
Released on ECM Records. Visit the artist site.
*** This week’s featured albums ***
Anat Cohen – Luminosa (Anzic)
Each new recording by Cohen just further impresses how much feeling she’s able to generate from her clarinet. Her newest focuses on Brazilian music, but some adventurous takes on music from other parts of the world, too. I’ll be writing more about this excellent album in the coming weeks, but, seriously, don’t bother waiting… just go buy this album now.
Giovanni Francesca – Rame (Auand)
Stunningly beautiful album from guitarist Francesca’s quintet. His sound, with its effects and an instrumentation that includes both violin and trombone is strongly reminiscent of Bill Frisell’s Nonesuch years. Sweetness and fire, both, on this one. Expect to read more in the coming weeks on this site.
Pascal Schumacher – Left Tokyo Right (Laborie)
Resonant new release from vibraphonist Schumacher. The whole quartet shines, but especially so in the pairing of Schumacher and pianist Franz von Chossy. Melodies as deep as the sea and just as enchanting.
Emanative – The Light Years of the Darkness (Brownswood)
Excellent large ensemble spiritual jazz performance. Led by drummer-percussionist Emanative (the alias for Nick Woodmansey), they perform renditions of tunes by Alice Coltrane, Sun Ra, Pharoah Sanders and more. Rich grooves and melodies as soft as a cool breeze in Summer.
Read more about this album on Bird is the Worm (LINK).
David Ake – Lake Effect (Posi-tone)
Seriously expressive new set from pianist Ake’s quartet. Switches between songs of a bubbling intensity and solo pieces as serene as a morning sunrise. Benefiting the album greatly, Ake gives saxophonist Peter Epstein plenty of room to roll out his solos.
E.J. Strickland Quintet – The Undying Spirit (Strick Muzik)
A graceful eloquence to this recording, which exhibits no hesitation to wear its heart on its sleeve. Drummer Strickland leads a quintet of pro’s pros (Jaleel Shaw, Linda Oh, Luis Pedromo and brother Marcus) through a set of straight-ahead tunes. Lots to like here, but “Midnight’s Clearing” is a song that’ll stick in your head long after the album is done playing.
New Cool Collective – Electric Monkey Sessions (Dox)
Benjamin Herman’s ensemble expands on their 70s psych-trip-jazz niche. Going deep with their rhythmic approaches add an interesting new facet to their melodically rich sound, especially the Senegalese influences. Fun music with some cool grooves.
Doug Webb – Triple Play (Posi-tone)
Nifty straight-ahead set from tenor saxophonist Webb. Triple tenor sax line-up (along w/Walt Weiskopf & Joel Frahm) emits an abundance of heat. Balanced out nicely by the thick grooves of organist Brian Charette and drummer Rudy Royston.
Glenn Zaleski – My Ideal (Sunnyside)
Nice straight-ahead piano trio set. Whether kicking up some dust with an up-tempo piece or slipping into a ballad, Zaleski’s crew gets a nice chatter going. Guest Ravi Coltrane is a good indication that Zaleski’s next recording should include a full-time saxophonist.
Courtney Pine – Song (The Ballad Book) (Destin-E)
Nordic Circles – Winter Rainbow (AMP Music)
No artist site | No listen | Buy: Amazon
Have a great time digging through the list!
And remember, it’s simple: You like what you like.