Feb 5 2015
So 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.
*** The Featured Five ***
Matana Roberts – Coin Coin Chapter Three: River Run Thee
Just stunning. The third volume of Matana Roberts‘ Coin 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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
*** And Seven More ***
Daniel Rosenboom – Astral Transference & Seven Dreams (Orenda)
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.
Henry Kaiser & Ray Russell – The Celestial Squid (Cuneiform)
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.
Ernesto Cervini – Turboprop (Anzic)
Jaromir Honzák – Uncertainty (Animal Music)
Cabbages, Captain & King – Cabbages, Captain & King (Edgetone)
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.
Vincent Peirani – Living Being (ACT Music)
Artist site | Buy: Amazon
Harmony of the Spheres – Harmony of the Spheres (V-Records)
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.