Sep 18 2015
This Is Jazz Today: Santos Silva/Zetterberg/Lindwall, Bruno Heinen & Kristian Borring, Fred Alarie Duo, Michael McNeill Trio and Paintbox
Let’s get your weekend started early with a new batch of recommendations. This installment of This Is Jazz Today features a nice mix of the avant-garde and straight-ahead jazz, and includes several names that are favorites of this site… a fact which should give you the impulse to start searching around Bird is the Worm for more recommendations posted over the years.
No more talking. You have music to listen to and money burning a hole in your pocket.
*** Today’s Feature Album ***
Santos Silva/Zetterberg/Lindwall – If Nothing Else (Clean Feed)
There’s an ominous tone throughout the nifty new recording by trumpeter Susana Santos Silva, bassist Torbjörn Zetterberg and organist Hampus Lindwall. The long low drones let the implication of a threat hang in the air, and not even the intermittent melodic surge acts as a denial. The music is a sigh, it’s a moan, it’s peacefully humming, and it’s the long, lovely exhalation as if that breath might be the last. Atonality and subtle dissonance are the main course on this intriguing album, but the way the trio cloak it with a murky, fading serenity is what cinches the album as a definite recommendation.
*** Also Featured ***
Bruno Heinen & Kristian Borring – Postcard to Bill Evans (Babel Label)
Enjoyable duo set from pianist Bruno Heinen and guitarist Kristian Borring as they dig into the Bill Evans songbook. A sunny disposition to these relatively contemplative tunes, much like the peaceful optimism that comes from seeing shard of light break through the cloud cover of grey skies. It’s been fun following the progress of Heinen’s creative arc. His previous two recordings, an embrace of the music of Karlheinz Stockhausen and a set of songs that uses the children’s song “Twinkle Twinkle” as their basis, were each compelling in their way, and showed how Heinen’s intelligence was able to lock in with that of the original composers. I’m pretty addicted to their rendition of “23 Skidoo.”
Fred Alarie Duo – Undertaking (Multiple Chord Music)
A riveting set of dialogues between bassist Frédéric Alarie and trumpeter Jacques Kuba Séguin. The fact that this recording is likely to get filed under avant-garde might draw attention away from the sublime beauty this duo generates with a melodic succinctness and a strong spatial awareness. The result is music better suited for quieter moments when the need for serenity is high. That said, there’s plenty of volatility when the duo wants to conjure it up, but never to the point where that abiding, odd serenity is ever at risk. A very cool recording.
Michael McNeill Trio – Flight (Self-Produced)
Interesting trio set from pianist McNeill, bassist Ken Filiano and drummer Phil Haynes. With its acerbic phrasings and staggered tempos, the music has the gruff demeanor of a free improv session, but McNeill infuses several of the tracks with melodic fragments that ring with the echo of 1950s bop sessions, and that juxtaposition of old vs. new and of catchy vs. chaotic creates an appealing tension from the way these diametrically opposed motivations work so well in tandem. The three-part “Wild Geese Suite” switches out the old-school bop element for something more modern. The sacrifice of that compelling bit of old vs. new contrast gains the music a quality of driven determination… compelling, too, in its own right.
Paintbox – Ven (Double Moon)
Nothing fancy, just polished straight-ahead modern jazz. The melodies are nice enough, but really they’re just an excuse for the musicians to head off to the horizons on some nifty solos. The quintet of guitar, sax, piano, drums & bass snaps firmly into place while still allowing room for individualism. The pianist on this session, Hans Feigenwinter, is a Bird is the Worm favorite.
Download a free album track, courtesy of the artists, by hitting the download button on the audio player just below or head on over to their Soundcloud page and you can download there while checking out more of their music.
Have a great time digging through the list!
And remember, it’s simple: You like what you like.