Jul 12 2015
This week in the Jazz new releases bin is dominated by artists who enthusiastically leap from one genre to the next or, sometimes, approach them as if there were nothing separating those genres in the first place. Very little of the music you’ll find in today’s recommendations is straight-forward, but you’ll find most of it is easy to embrace.
Challenging music need not always be a challenging listen. I’ve got several albums here that prove that statement.
*** Album of the Week ***
Quartet Diminished – Station One
Guitarist Ehsan Sadigh’s quartet isn’t hesitant about tackling a range of expressions with their mix of modern jazz, hardcore folk, avant-garde and psychedelic jazz-rock fusion. Somehow, this delirious mix of expressions all seem to snap into place, which is a hell of an accomplishment considering the diversity of sound and conversation styles employed. Ehsan Sadigh on electric guitar, Peter Soleimanipour on bass clarinet & saxophones, Mazyar Younesi on piano and Rouzbeh Fadavi on drums offer up a sharp tunefulness from within the panoramic view. It’s a nice look at music coming out of Tehran. It’s also a very exciting, very cool album, and you can expect I’ll be writing more about it here on this site. For now, just go buy it.
Released on Hermes Records.
*** Also Featured This Week ***
Shaun Martin – 7 Summers (Ropeadope)
This work is pianist Martin’s attempt to reflect on the story of his life through music, and the way it moves through expressions of hard bop, Latin jazz, R&B, fusion and Hip Hop gives the impression of a lifespan of influences. His sextet plus the Soulchestra string unit display a refreshing knack for shifting between insanely focused moments of contemplation and big sounds shouted euphorically to the skies. This album has got a seriously magnetic personality.
Marios Takoushis & Gabriel Karapatakis – Colours of Another Sky (Self-Produced)
Much like their 2012 release Seven Miles East, the new one from pianist Takoushis and bassist Karapatakis is an absorbing mix of modern jazz, Metheny-esque fusion, and Greek folk music. An revolving cast joins the duo, adding Cretan lyra, violin, drums and saxophones to the mix. Melodies make big entrances, then head off to the horizon traveling far and wide… but they always return home with an equally big finale.
Hermine Deurloo & Zapp4 – Welling (Tin Wood Music)
For music that’s got a folksy charm and affable personality, there’s an engrossing introspective side to this album, too. Deurloo’s chromatic harmonica dances around the slashing lines of a string quartet, and the crosshatch of furtive motions, deep melodicism and warm harmonies is pretty addictive. Lively music that’s likely inspire all kinds of daydream imagery.
James Uhart – Sous Le Lampadaire (Self-Produced)
Evocative piano trio recording from pianist Uhart. Definitely a member of the School of Mehldau, both in terms of his thoughtful harmonic development as well as a firm commitment to seeing a melody reach full bloom. There’s a couple tracks on this album that are likely to cement themselves permanently in your day-to-day playlist.
Wayne Wallace Latin Jazz Quintet – Intercambio (Patois)
The special thing about trombonist Wallace’s various projects is that he deftly shows just how diverse is the Latin Jazz range of expressions and just how inadequate the phrase “Latin Jazz” sums it all up. His newest, with his quintet and a number of guests (including a nice turn by violinist Mads Tolling) hits upon a number of regional influences, as well as their crossover points of mutual transformation. Context aside, this is simply joyful, effusive music that beams a warm, wide smile.
Corbin Andrick – Olmstead’s Whistle (Self-Produced)
Nice little showcase of talent from the Chicago scene on alto saxophonist Andrick’s latest. They work in some grooves throughout most of the affair, and when they slow down its pace or slip it past as an undercurrent is when the album shines strong. Trumpeter Marquis Hill shows he’s got plenty of feel and bassist Katie Ernst’s contribution resonates strongly on this one, seemingly from within the shadows of the rhythm section.
Joel Harrison 5 – Spirit House (Whirlwind)
A bit of a disjointed album from guitarist Harrison, which is either its winning quality or its fatal flaw, depending on which way your ear bends when listening. It’s the right line-up for this kind of recording (trumpeter Cuong Vu, bassoonist Paul Hanson, bassist Kermit Driscoll and drummer Brian Blade), as each member is accustomed to traversing the distance between scarred modern jazz-blues and enigmatic melodicism that cuts to the bone. The ethereal tracks that choose vague forms over hard imprints are where the band really comes together.
Momo Trio – Inati (Self-Produced)
Engaging modern piano trio session. Some use of electronics & effects and some lines of dialog that freely jump off the rails, but when this trio settles down into a melody, they really string it out beautifully from start to end. Some moments that don’t always hit the mark, but many that do, and taken in the scope of the album’s entirety, the view of different facets of the trio’s vision easily compensates.
Caili O’Doherty – Padme (Self-Produced)
This enjoyable modern set from pianist O’Doherty has a nice casual ease even though it frequently moves at a brisk pace. A trio at its core, but includes some nice guest appearances by saxophonists Caroline Davis & Ben Flocks, violinist Alex Hargreaves and trombonist Eric Miller. Best quality is the music’s restrained, but incisive lyricism.
Have a great time digging through the list!
And remember, it’s simple: You like what you like.