Tiny Reviews: Julian Joseph, Keith Jarrett, Kevin Hays, & Radio String Quartet Vienna

Tiny Reviews, featuring:  Julian Joseph Live at the Vortex in London, Keith Jarrett Rio, Kevin Hays Variations, and Radio String Quartet Vienna Radiodream.

In today’s batch, we have three solo piano albums and one classical string quartet.  I didn’t actually listen to them in this order, nor did I even realize how I had batched them into this article until just now.  Odd how that worked out.  Anyways, let’s begin…


Julian Joseph – Live at the Vortex in London

A solo piano outing from shamefully under-recognized pianist Julian Joseph. Extremely talented, and possesses a flair for bringing elements of other genres to him in Jazz without having to leave jazz territory to get them. On Live at the Vortex, Joseph keeps things on familiar ground with a solo live performance that sees him stretching out with his classical background. If you’re into solo piano, this makes a nice selection. For something more traditional from Joseph, check out his excellent The Language of Truth, which I still listen to regularly 15 years after first picking it up.

Your album personnel:  Julian Joseph (piano).

Released on the ASC Records label.

Available on eMusic.


Keith Jarrett – Rio

This recording is from Keith Jarrett’s 2011 live solo piano three day concert. Personally, I’ve always preferred Jarrett’s brilliance with his American Quartet back in the 70s, and find most of Jarrett’s solo ECM stuff unpleasantly distant.  But this one, I dunno, seems more soulful, and really connects with me.  Even his odd guttural vocalizations during tunes seems to fit right in just fine.  The fact that tunes keep mostly to the five minute mark probably also works in their favor.  Nice stuff. Compositions like “Rio Part XV” are pure bliss (not the same song embedded below).

Your album personnel:  Keith Jarrett (piano).

Released on ECM Records.

Available on eMusic.


Kevin Hays – Variations

Pianist Kevin Hays would make an excellent tour guide on his instrument. He’s spent his career discovering all the hidden spots in between the notes that typically attract the tourists. Leaving his typical trio format for this recording, his exploratory nature shines through. A delicate sound throughout, and compositions that wander classical territory more than jazz, it’s an impressive addition to his already impressive discography.

Your album personnel:  Kevin Hays (piano).

Released on the Pirouet Records label.  Jazz from NYC.

Available on eMusic.


And let’s wrap up with my weekly “Cool Album Misfiled Under Jazz” pick….

Radio String Quartet Vienna – Radiodream

Classical music through-and-through. Released on the ACT Music label, which doesn’t stick to just jazz.  Radio String Quartet Vienna gives some moments that come close to representing an eagle soaring over snowcapped mountains and some moments that probably were how Sigourney Weaver felt as she ran from aliens in deep space. Beautiful.  Listening to this over the last month or so, and it’s emotional impact has yet faded for me.

Your album personnel:  Bernie Mallinger (violin), Igmar Jenner (violin), Cynthia Liao (viola), and Asja Valcic (cello)

Available on eMusic.


That’s it for today’s article, and the second of two parts of the Tiny Reviews from this batch of new arrivals.

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.