Tiny Reviews: Andy Sheppard, Jonathan Edo, & Jerker Kluge’s Deep Jazz

Tiny Reviews, featuring:  Andy Sheppard Trio Libero, Jonathan Edo Traits d’unions, and Jerker Kluge’s Deep Jazz The Meeting.

Three albums that couldn’t be more different from one another.  We’ve got a typical austere minimalist ECM album, a release from a Parisian ensemble that sound like a South African world jazz outfit, and an ensemble that loves the spiritual jazz of the sixties and unabashedly makes it love known by recreating that wonderful sound.

Let’s begin…


Andy Sheppard – Trio Libero

Andy Sheppard’s second recording date for ECM.  Along with Sheppard’s tenor & soprano sax, he rounds out a trio with bassist Michel Benita and drummer Sebastian Rochford.  It’s an interesting grouping.  Sheppard’s sound is totally in with the austere vibe of ECM musicians, whereas Benita is a jazz vet whose sound has ranged from the avant-garde to a Frisellian folk.  Meanwhile, drummer Rochford comes from the Acoustic Ladyland/Polar Bear new school of jazz.  If this was a fight, it appears that Sheppard wins the day.  It’s a laid-back recording that one would expect from a modern ECM issue.

Ultimately, I found this recording a bit underwhelming.  Part of it may be that I had very high hopes for this album, because I thought it was an inspiring pairing of these three musicians, each of whom I liked very much in other settings.  But it just didn’t seem to click between them; the music sounded a bit flat.  I’m hoping this is one of those albums that, down the road, my ears hear it differently and do a 180.  But I find this a doubtful possibility, and nothing about this music inspires me to revisit down the road.  But crazier things have happened, I suppose.

Released on the ECM Records label.

Available on eMusic.


Jonathan Edo – Traits d’unions

Likable outfit that brings a South African jazz sound, maybe a little South American influences, too, for a genial recording that’s very easy to tap the foot along to.  Buoyant sax, grounded piano, polyrhythmic attack, ethnic vocals occasionally, talkative bass, some unconventional guest instruments.  Just real nice jazz and a warm sound.  At just under twenty six minutes long, it’s more of an EP than a proper long-play album, but that might be to the benefit of someone who wants to sample this outfit before diving in head-first.  I think it’s only costs a couple bucks on (U.S.) eMusic, so if you like the embedded track, it’s a nice pickup.  I’ve been listening to it occasionally over the last month, and it’s no less infectious or warm to my ears than the first time I heard it.

Your album personnel:  Jonathan Edo (percussion), Sebastien Jacques (piano, claviers), Kevin Gervais (bass), Romain Perda (balafon), and Antoine Lobbe (sax).

Released on the Autoproduction label.  Jazz from the Paris scene.

Available on eMusic.


Jerker Kluge’s Deep Jazz – The Meeting

Nifty large ensemble recording, two feet firmly in the classic spiritual jazz of the sixties.  Mostly original pieces, but Jerker Kluge does cover Rahsaan Roland Kirk and Freddie Hubbard, too.  Bass clarinet absolutely sings, and harp adds some texture from the background.  Occasional vocals won’t bother people who don’t like vocals in their jazz.  Classic jazz sound.

Your album personnel:  Julia Fehenberger (vocals), Andrea Hermenau (piano, vocals), Florian Riedl (flute, alto sax), Till Martin (tenor sax), Ulrich Wangenheim (bass clarinet), Kathrin Pechlof (harp), Jerker Kluge (bass), Diony Varias (percussion), and Matthias Gmelin (drums).

Some track have vocals, some don’t.  As I’ve mention previously, I’m not always the biggest fan of jazz vocals (or maybe I’m just very particular about them, since there are some jazz vocals that rock my world), but this album would be far for the worse were it not for the vocals.  They absolutely add essential elements to the tunes; sometimes it’s a soulfulness, sometimes an abounding levity.  Gotta say, it’s been a month since I first heard this album, and I’m still thrilled to have stumbled upon it.

Released on the Perfect Toy Records label.  Jazz from the Munich, Germany scene.

You can stream the entire album on Kluge’s bandcamp page.

Available on eMusic.


That’s it for today’s article, and, well, this is where I usually tell you what number post of what number total posts come from the current batch of new releases, but I got all my posts a bit mixed up, and so I’m not entirely sure.  I also don’t think it really matters.  I feel like I started that whole thing originally as an organization device, one which I’ve since moved on from and made irrelevant.  So there.

Here’s some language to protect emusic’s rights as the one to hire me originally to scour through the jazz new arrivals and write about the ones I like:

“New Arrivals Jazz Picks“, courtesy of eMusic.com, Inc.
© 2012  eMusic.com, Inc.

My thanks to emusic for the freelance writing gig, the opportunity to use it in this blog, and the editorial freedom to help spread the word about cool new jazz being recorded today.