Tiny Reviews: Brooklyn Jazz Underground, Benjamin Herman, & Miho Wada

Tiny Reviews, featuring:  Brooklyn Jazz Underground A Portrait of Brooklyn, Benjamin Herman Deal, and Miho Wada Wanderland.



Brooklyn Jazz Underground – A Portrait of Brooklyn

An ensemble recording comprised of artists involved with the Brooklyn Jazz Underground Records label, an artist-run organization.  Each of the ensemble members present a nice pastiche of modern jazz compositions of their own making.  Melodies misshapen and warped, yet retain their beauty.  Rhythms shimmer like on the surface of displaced water.  Emotional shifts that enhance the album’s cohesiveness, rather than detract from it.  Track “The Hill” has a bandstand groove for Friday night dancing.  “The Cherry Bees” has a shimmering melody so intoxicating as to be addictive and so delicate as to threaten to drift away forever.  “Starr St.” has a heart-of-the-city presence, of an entire world of possibilities and stimuli all close enough to reach out and touch.  Just a very strong effort.

Your album personnel:  David Smith (trumpet), Adam Kolker (tenor & alto saxes, clarinet, bass clarinet, flute), Dan Pratt (tenor sax, clarinet, flute), Anne Mette Iversen (bass) and Rob Garcia (drums).

Released on the Brooklyn Jazz Underground Records label.

You can stream the album on the BJU’s bandcamp page.

Available at eMusic.


Benjamin Herman – Deal

Dutch saxophonist Benjamin Herman has been remarkably consistent over the years.  His sound is very reminiscent of the early 70s when jazz was getting strong infusions of soul, funk, and trip rock.  Herman has a cool jazz sound, amped way up, and his music would be just as comfortable as a soundtrack to a Motown themed movie as it would a hippie freak out flick.  On this album, his quintet is joined by the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra for a set of high voltage, swinging tunes, carried along with lush strings and an army of woodwinds.

Your album personnel:  Benjamin Herman (sax), Joost Kroon (drums), Manuel Hugas (bass guitar), Carlo de Wijs (Hammond B3), Jesse van Ruller (guitar), and the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra.

Released on the Dox Records label.

Download a free album track at AllAboutJazz, courtesy of the artist and label.

It appears you can purchase a Vinyl edition of the album direct from Dox Records.

Available at eMusic.  Available at Amazon: CD


Miho Wada – Wanderland

Flautist Miho Wada just does her own thing.  Not sounding like anyone else on the scene, she’s developing a very likable approach to jazz flute.  After immersing herself in Cuban music on her previous recording Para Ti (reviewed here), she returns with a new release that has more of an Indie pop flavor.  Catchy as hell, rapid tempos even when the melody is taking its time, and shifts between swinging and brooding.  The music sounds influenced by Wada’s New Zealand locale.  On this release, as with past Wada recordings, there is a palpable element of Fun inherent in the music.  It’s easy to imagine the musicians genuinely enjoying themselves as they record these tunes.  Song “Bears and Bamboos,” with its bittersweet violin and rock tempo, should appeal to lots and lots of you Indie fans.  Wada also doubles on sax for this recording.  Too pretty.

Your album personnel:  Miho Wada (flute & sax), Pascal Roggen (violin & electric violin), James Donaldson (cello), Andrew Rudolph (guitar), Takumi Motokawa (piano & organ), Leo Corso (bass), Alistair Deverick (drums), and Jane Chen (taiko drums).

The album is Self-Produced, released on Wada’s Florestar label.

Download a free album track at AllAboutJazz, courtesy of the artist.

You can stream the album on Wada’s bandcamp page.

Available at eMusic.



Portions of these reviews were originally used in my Jazz Picks weekly article for eMusic, so here’s some language protecting their rights to that reprinted material as the one to hire me to write about new jazz arrivals to their site…

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

As always, my sincere thanks to eMusic for the gig.  Cheers.