Feb 19 2015
I couldn’t figure out why there were so many scheduled releases set for February 17th, and then it struck me… that’s my birthday. Aw shucks, Jazz People, you shouldn’t have. No, really, don’t do that again. I couldn’t even celebrate my birthday because of all the new albums to go through.
About those new albums… I had to split this week’s This Is Jazz Today column into two parts. Today is Part One and tomorrow is Part Two. Conveniently, each day will feature one of the two co-Picks of the Week. And the Featured Five will now become the Featured Six, so that I can have an equal number of them each day. Twenty recommendations in all, ten per day. And quite frankly, there were more than two recordings that had a strong claim to earn the top spot. Damn, this was a strong week. So, I split it in two.
Have I made this more complicated than it needed be? Probably. Couldn’t I just have loaded up a ton of recommendations in one single column like I have so many other times before? Well, you make a good point. Am I going to persist in delaying the discovery of great new music by allowing this intro to continue endlessly? Oh, hey, yeah, sorry about that…
*** The Featured Three ***
Fresh Cut Orchestra – From the Vine
Considering how the Fresh Cut Orchestra is comprised of bandleaders drawn from a diverse group of projects, From the Vine displays an impressive solidarity. Yes, the varied influences are all there and show their faces throughout this debut, providing the album with depth and substance to back up its engaging personality.
Read more about why I recommend this album… (LINK).
co-Pick of the Week.
Alban Darche Stringed – L’Horloge
Saxophonist Alban Darche creates curiously beautiful music. There’s something supremely enchanting about his work, even if it’s often difficult to explain why. His music is typically unconventional and downright strange, so it’s interesting to hear him partner up with a quintet of stringed instruments. It definitely puts his haunting melodies and acrobatic solos in a new light. I’ve got a pretty decent draft going that documents his various projects. For now, dig into his newest.
More listening | Buy: Amazon
Nordmann – Alarm!
A very fun and absorbing session from the Nordmann quartet, who dish out the rock as often as they do jazz. When sax speaks, it often does so in a clipped language, with a brevity that doesn’t diminish its melodic strength. The guitar sometimes roars aloud, but is more effective when threading thin lines of melody and rhythm both. The bass & drums duo drive things along plenty, but it’s their playfulness with tempo when they emerge at their strongest. Good stuff.
*** And seven more ***
Duchess – Duchess (Anzic)
Fun recording from the vocal trio of Amy Cervini, Hilary Gardner and Melissa Stylianou. Backed by a quintet of pro’s pros, the ladies swing while they sing. All the warmth of a friendly embrace, all the fun of a day spent with good friends.
John Stowell-Michael Zilber Quartet – Live Beauty (Origin)
PLS Trio – East River (Echo Chamber)
Piano trio that doesn’t hold back on the electric instruments or their effects. None of the songs possess much gravitas, but the trio knows how to shape some seriously pretty melodies. Lots of catchy tunes and easy to like.
Lucas Pino – No Net Nonet (Origin)
Andrew Drury – Content Provider (Self-Produced)
Lage Lund – Idlewild (Criss Cross)
The shimmering effect guitarist Lund gives to straight-ahead modern jazz provides it with some differentiation that goes a long way. Trio session scoots right along at times, but it’s the peaceful moments that hold sway. Excellent stuff.
Charles McPherson – The Journey (Capri)
Solid straight-ahead quintet session from the jazz veteran. McPherson’s alto sax matched up with a tenorman provides both harmonic depth and some fun when they trade fire during solos. Those who aren’t so much for the modern scene, this one will fit like a glove.
Have a great time digging through the list!
And remember, it’s simple: You like what you like.
And be sure to check back in tomorrow for PART II of this week’s This Is Jazz Today