Jun 20 2015
As promised on Thursday, here’s Part II of this week’s This Is Jazz Today recommendations column. You can find Part I, which includes the Album of the Week, here-> LINK
It was a great week of new music, too much to contain in a solitary column, and plenty to keep you busy until I return with another batch of recommendations.
Sorry about your budget, but you need this music.
Robert Glasper – Covered (Blue Note)
A return to the trio format for pianist Glasper, seeing him rejoined with bassist Vicente Archer and drummer Damion Reid. Performing straight takes on the songs of others (including the requisite Radiohead tune), this live performance is a nice reminder at how expressive Glasper can be when subtlety and nuance are the main ingredients. The Great American Songbook is an eternal source of material for a reason, but, damn, it’s nice to hear someone looking at the music of today and performing jazz renditions of music by the likes of Kendrick Lamar, Musiq Soulchild, Bilal, John Legend and (since it’s kind of a Glasper trademark at this point) Radiohead.
Chris Dingman – The Subliminal and the Sublime (Inner Arts)
It’s some serious tranquility from vibraphonist Dingman’s new, five-part suite, as his sextet attempts to capture the spirit of the environment of Dingman’s wilderness travels. Even the occasional shows of aggression are unthreatening and do nothing to shatter the peace. Joining the vibraphonist are alto saxophonist Loren Stillman, pianist Fabian Almazan, guitarist Ryan Ferreira, bassist Linda Oh and drummer Justin Brown.
Terell Stafford – Brotherlee Love (Capri)
Excellent set from trumpeter Stafford, holding in has hands the Lee Morgan songbook like it was made in heaven. This old-school bop session has all the vibrancy and life of the source material and just as tuneful. Stafford’s quintet is rounded out by saxophonist Tim Warfield, pianist Bruce Barth, bassist Peter Washington and drummer Dana Hall.
Much more self-contained and unassuming than his previous release, the large ensemble work, Mirage. On his newest, Landrus (and his bari & bass saxes, bass clarinet, and bass flute) works out of a trio formation with veterans, bassist Lonnie Plaxico and drummer Billy Hart. It’s as if Landrus’s goal for this recording was to suss out the ballad that lies somewhere in the heart of every song, no matter how upbeat or effusive it may have been written.
Michael Oien – And Now (Fresh Sound New Talent)
It’s the gradual shifts within and between songs from rich to sparse textures that highlight bassist Oien’s debut. This quality is most striking on the moodier sections when Matthew Stevens enters on acoustic guitar and provides a sharp lightbeam as counterweight to the thicker clouds generated by Oien, alto saxophonist Nick Videen, pianist Jamie Reynolds an drummer Eric Doob. The 3-part “Dreamer” suite is where to measure this album’s heartbeat.
Kari Ikonen Trio – Beauteous Tales and Offbeat Stories (Ozella)
Pianist Ikonen’s new trio session lays down all kinds of imagery with an obtuse form of expressionism. He dangles the semblance of a melody out front like a lure, and then keeps it just out of reach as his trio develops it far and wide. Plenty of exciting scene changes to accompany the serene vistas.
Francesco Chiapperini Extemporary Vision Ensemble – Our Redemption (Rudi)
Awfully thrilling free jazz session from saxophonist Chiapperini and his nonet. Equally dispersed between saxes, strings and percussion, the lynchpin of the music is the way all the frenetically moving parts suddenly congeal around a melodic fragment… before breaking off again and heading off in random directions. A sense of something old (1970s avant-garde experiments) and something new to this one.
Maria Schneider Orchestra – The Thompson Fields (ArtistShare)
Every statement is a grand one, sometimes voiced with a sonic boom and other times majestically soaring on thick harmonic drafts. After some time away, composer/arranger/bandleader Schneider has her orchestra (featuring crack artists familiar to readers of this column like Ryan Keberle, Lage Lund, Frank Kimbrough, Donny McCaslin, Gary Versace and more) back and operating like they’d never left the bandstand. An expansive sound possessing a sightline that just seems to go on forever.
Jongens Quartet – Industri (Demajors)
Likable set from this young piano/guitar/bass/drums quartet. Most tracks situate in the modern camp, thick with melodies and rhythms that drive the quartet more than shepherd it along, but they’re also not afraid to toss a straight-ahead bop tune into the mix. Nice to get a view upon the Jakarta, Indonesia scene.
Have a great time digging through the list!
And remember, it’s simple: You like what you like.
Part I of this week’s column posted on Thursday!