This Is Jazz Today: Matana Roberts, Caterina Palazzi Sudoku Killer, Daniel Rosenboom & more!


BitW square avatarSo here we are.  As you (hopefully) read in a previous column, my run on eMusic & Wondering Sound is now over.  You can read about what’s what, here, w/this LINK.  For the time being, as I search for a new home for my weekly jazz recommendations column, I’ll be posting the recs on Bird is the Worm.

About those recommendations…

So, we’re seeing the first real signs that the 2015 new release schedule is getting under way.  Today’s recommendations, in a rare instance, fall primarily in one of two camps- the innovative avant-garde and the straight-aheads that keep closer to jazz center.  That said, there’s plenty of differentiation between the residents of those respective categories, so make no assumptions and listen closely, because there’s some excellent music to be discovered in today’s list.

Let’s begin…


*** The Featured Five ***


Matana Roberts – Coin Coin Chapter Three: River Run Thee

Matana Roberts - "Coin Coin Chapter Three River Run Thee"Just stunning.  The third volume of Matana RobertsCoin Coin series is no less compelling than its counterparts while diverging from the previous two in striking ways.  Still in place is Roberts’ self-described method of “panoramic sound quilting,” an apt phrase both from a sonic experience & production standpoint, but also in the way, like a quilt, she brings past and present together, rendering them simultaneously indistinguishable and distinct from one another, united.  This one is a solo project, and she weaves together layer after layer of saxophone, singing and spoken word, electronic drones, ornamental effects, and field recordings.  It’s one long uninterrupted piece and it’s an immersive experience.  Perhaps most fascinating is that the music possesses a massively hypnotic quality, since, by all means and measures, this same music is very awake.

Pick of the Week.

Released on Constellation Records.  Visit the artist site.

More listening | Buy: eMusicAmazon


Caterina Palazzi Sudoku Killer – Infanticide

Caterina Palazzi Sudoku Killer - "Infanticide"Heavy drama from bassist Palazzi’s quartet, Sudoku Killer.  Strong infusions of avant-rock mainlined into their edgy form of modern jazz.  But amongst the jarring dissonance and streaks of highly charged electricity are sweetly spoken melodies.  It’s a serious kind of theater.  The remainder of the quartet consists of guitarist Giacomo Ancillotto, saxophonist Antonio Raia and drummer Maurizio Chiavaro.

Released on Auand Records.  Visit the artist site.

More listening | Buy: eMusic – Amazon


Mike Fletcher Trio – Vuelta

Nifty straight-ahead saxophone trio.  On C-melody sax, Mike Fletcher develops an appealing spring to his step, and between his instrument’s dancing motion and the amicable patter of bassist Olie Brice and drummer Jeff Williams, the trio attains a comforting susurrus.  This, in addition to Fletcher’s easy-going lyricism makes this one a winner.  An easy one to connect with.

Released on Stoney Lane Records.  Visit the artist site.

More listening | Buy:  eMusic – Amazon


Jean-Michel Pilc – What Is This Thing Called?

Jean-Michel Pilc - "What Is This Thing Called?"A seriously absorbing solo set from pianist Jean-Michel Pilc, who casts a myriad of reflections off the classic gem, Cole Porter’s “What Is This Thing Called Love?”  More vignettes than songs, most of the album’s 31 tracks don’t go over two minutes in length.  But in those brief moments… (read more about why I recommend this album- LINK).

Released on Sunnyside Records.  Visit the artist site.

More listening | Buy: eMusic | Bandcamp | Amazon


Marius Neset – Pinball

Marius Neset - "Pinball"Heavy emphasis on the lyrical qualities for the newest by saxophonist Marius Neset.  He leads a quintet comprised of all-stars from the UK scene (Ivo Neame, Jim Hart, Petter Eldh and Anton Eger), plus guests on strings, flute and percussion.  As far as emotional impact, Neset doesn’t hold back on the melodies; this is especially effective when the ensemble lays off the gas pedal.  The song “Music for Cello and Saxophone” is worth the price of admission alone, though there are several moments that statement could apply to.

Released on ACT Music.  Visit the artist site.

Buy: Amazon


*** And Seven More ***


Daniel Rosenboom – Astral Transference & Seven Dreams (Orenda)

Daniel Rosenboom - "Astral Transference"Fierce and combustible, trumpeter Rosenboom holds nothing back.  The occasional shifts into a straight-ahead jazz sound are almost startling.  When melody becomes the focus, the results are sweetly heartbreaking.

Artist site | Listen | Buy: BandcampeMusic – Amazon


Henry Kaiser & Ray Russell – The Celestial Squid (Cuneiform)

Kaiser, Russell - "The Celestial Squid"The veteran guitarists show how deftly they can mold varied genres into something that sounds nothing like any of them.  Avant-garde music that grabs the ear tight whether a torrent or in a graceful tailspin.  No shortage of personality on this one.

Artist site & Artist site | Buy: BandcampAmazon


Ernesto Cervini – Turboprop (Anzic)

Ernesto Cervini - "Turboprop"An album that flits between old- and new-school jazz.  Aggressive conversational style, which makes for some engaging music.  When the ensemble displays a quirky behavior is when it’s at its strongest.

Artist site | Listen | Buy: BandcampeMusicAmazon


Jaromir Honzák – Uncertainty (Animal Music)

Jaromír Honzák - "Uncertainty"Nice moody ambiance by Honzák’s quintet, even when they raise the temperature.  Patient expressions pay off with big resonance.  When bass clarinet enters the song, it steals the show.

Artist site | Buy: eMusicAmazon


Cabbages, Captain & King – Cabbages, Captain & King (Edgetone)

Cabbages, Captain & King - "Cabbages, Captain & King"A rather charming personality to this free improv session.  Piano, drums & guitar each take a playful approach to their rhythmic capacities.  Bursts of tunefulness coalesce from long disassembled passages.

Buy:  BandcampeMusicAmazon


Vincent Peirani – Living Being (ACT Music)

Vincent Peirani - "Living Being"A very cool electronic jazz release from accordionist Peirani.  Harmonically soothing, melodically whimsical, rhythmically congenial.  For something pretty different, this album really is quite catchy.

Artist site | Buy: Amazon


Harmony of the Spheres – Harmony of the Spheres (V-Records)

Harmony of the Spheres - "Harmony of the Spheres"Quartet of trumpet, guitar, bass and drums emits a strong warmth from a modern straight-ahead sound.  Occasional breaks into prog-y jazz-fusion are a welcome diversion.  Likable, to be sure.

Artist site | Listen | Not available: Amazon, eMusic, CDBaby, Bandcamp



Have a great time digging through the list!

And remember, it’s simple:  You like what you like.