Feb 20 2015
This Is Jazz Today (Part II): Bram Weijters & Chad McCullough, Daniele Cavallanti, Peter Gordon and more!
Well, as I mentioned yesterday in Part One of this column, the sheer volume of new releases this week forced me to split this week’s This Is Jazz Today column into two parts. Today is Part Two and Part One appeared yesterday. 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. And couldn’t I have had the decency to at least write something new for Day 2 instead of copy & pasting yesterday’s intro? Nag nag nag.
*** The Featured Three ***
Bram Weijters & Chad McCullough Quartet – Abstract Quantities
There is a workmanlike quality to the magic this quartet creates with each recording. Pianist Bram Weijters and Chad McCullough go about their job of crafting expert melodies and seamlessly fusing them into place with logical rhythms and harmonies that achieve their function with a remarkable precision. The result is a series of striking tunes that give the sense of possessing no beginning and no end, and radiating an individuality that draws the focus on the song of the moment with no regard to what has come before and what’s up next.
Read more about why I recommend this album (LINK).
co-Pick of the Week.
Daniele Cavallanti – Sounds of Hope
Saxophonist Daniele Cavallanti joins with the Milano Contemporary Art Ensemble for an absolutely thrilling album. A Big Sound that dedicates itself to exploring the nuances of the compositions. The way Cavallanti is able to introduce the most delicate statements amidst waves of ferocity is just breathtaking. Coltrane fans should be taking a listen here, especially. I’ll be writing more about this album in the coming weeks, but feel free to just go buy this fantastic album immediately.
Released on Rudi Records. No artist site
Peter Gordon – Symphony 5
What’s most compelling about the new release by composer Peter Gordon and his Love Of Life Orchestra is that they make very strange music sound like an everyday experience. The ensemble splices together passages of jazz, rock, pop, classical and any number of other influences, and shapes a stream of ideas that gives the impression of the unconventional, but comes off as almost logical as they serve up one unexpected turn after the other. An essential element to this approach is that the music possesses a euphoric joyfulness that informs each and every moment. Music as fun as it is intelligent.
Released on Foom Music.
*** And seven more ***
Sigurdur Flosason & Kjeld Lauritsen – Daybreak (Storyville)
Josh Nelson – Exploring Mars (Origin)
Pianist Nelson’s ode to the Red Planet, inspired by science, stories and space travel. A deft mix of solo, small & large ensemble, instrumental and vocal pieces. For an album with a (relatively) small sound, it’s awfully damn exhilarating.
Ben Wolfe – The Whisperer (Posi-Tone)
Solid straight-ahead quartet date from bassist Wolfe. No one particular track comes on too strong, but each displays a little personality different from the rest. Plenty here to like, and good reasons to keep returning.
Scott Hesse Trio – The Stillness of Motion (Origin)
Ant Law – Zero Sum World (Whirlwind)
Plenty nice when this jazz guitar recording brings in some swing, but it’s when the quintet embraces modern approaches that the real personality shows. Guitarist Law excels when the foot is off the gas pedal. Nifty mix of eccentricities and conventionalism.
Artist site | Buy: Amazon
Tim Warfield – Spherical (Criss Cross)
Strong set of covers of Thelonious Monk compositions. Saxophonist Warfield deftly gives Monk’s indelible tunes his own voice without turning his back on the originals. Warfield is backed by a very strong cast on this quintet date.
Mark Wade Trio – Event Horizon (Self-Produced)
Have a great time digging through the list!
And remember, it’s simple: You like what you like.
And be sure to check out PART I of this week’s
This Is Jazz Today