Tiny Reviews: Lena Bloch, Anton Schwartz, & Jon Irabagon.

Tiny Reviews edition!

Featuring:  Lena Bloch Feathery, Anton Schwartz Flash Mob, and Jon Irabagon Trio It Takes All Kinds.



Lena Bloch – Feathery

Lena Bloch - "Feathery"Feathery is the strong debut from saxophonist Lena Bloch, who brings an updated voice to a classic cool-blue sound.  Moody even when it swings, there is a burgeoning intensity to much of this music that is quite appealing.  Some comparison to Tristano-Marsh could be drawn, and not unfairly.  Tracks like “Hi-Lee,” “Marshmallow,” and “Featherbed” hop with a sound that would get along swimmingly on a 1950s bandstand, as would a slow-burner like “Baby Suite.”  But where this album has a presence of the 1950s, it has displays of personality very much situated in the present day, with Bloch extending songs out on rhythmic and melodic forays that don’t neatly fit into the classical cool blue structure.  This quality is best represented by a track like “Rubato,” which is the stuff of dreams, opening with the softness of moonlight and closing with the unease of nightmare.

Just some good stuff here.

Your album personnel:  Lena Bloch (tenor sax), Dave Miller (guitar), Cameron Brown (bass), and Billy Mintz (drums).

Released on Thirteenth Note Records.

Available at:  eMusic | CDBaby | Amazon: CDMP3



Anton Schwartz – Flash Mob

Anton Schwartz - "Flash Mob"This seriously expressive quintet date from saxophonist Anton Schwartz is straight-ahead jazz that speaks plainly, right into the ear and masking nothing.  The blues sound just like the blues should.  When it’s time to swing, that’s what the quintet does.  If they want to make the head bop, they get right to it.  An album that has the heart and the spirit to have been right at home back when Hard Bop was the reason for the season.  And ignoring the irony that their cover of “Epistrophy” is the track that sounds most like the jazz of today, for the rest of the affair, there’s a classic Blue Note Records feel to the album.  Whether it’s the joyful hard-charging title-track to open the album or the cool drawl of “Swamp Thang” or the stamped-into-memory melody of “Pangur Ban,” it’s not a stretch to posit that Flash Mob would fit right in with a playlist of Donald Byrd, Dexter Gordon and Duke Pearson.  This album has got feel to it.

Your album personnel:  Anton Schwartz (tenor sax), Dominick Farinacci (trumpet, flugelhorn), Taylor Eigsti (piano), John Shifflet (bass), and Lorca Hart (drums).

The album is Self-Produced.

Available at:  eMusic | CDBaby | Bandcamp | Amazon: CDMP3



Jon Irabagon Trio – It Takes All Kinds

Jon Irabagon - "It Takes All Kinds"There are times when the music of Jon Irabagon doesn’t have its own sound so much as its own motion.  He shapes melody by contorting the cadence, and it’s why his music often sounds avant-garde and unconventional, yet possesses a tunefulness that’s tough to deny.  Recorded live at the 2013 Peitz Festival, It Takes All Kinds does nothing to contradict that assessment.  The jack-in-the-box cadence of “Cutting Corners” is a strangely catchy tune that is as much twist as bop.  “Vestiges” is a car undauntedly speeding straight up to red lights.  “Elusive” is a series of tangential comments lacking a central thesis and slurred with an agreeable drawl.  And then there’s the punches in bunches of “Quintessential Kitten,” ended with a big flurry at the finish.

The veteran rhythm section of Altschul and Helias have no difficulty cracking the code of Irabagon’s emerging method of communication.  This is not ordinary music.

Your album personnel:  Jon Irabagon (tenor sax), Barry Altschul (drums, percussion), and Mark Helias (double bass).

This Self-Produced album is released in partnership with the Jazzwerkstatt label.

Available at:  eMusic | Amazon: CDMP3



Some of this material was used originally in the weekly new jazz releases column I write for eMusic, so here’s some language protecting their rights to the 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.
© 2014  eMusic.com, Inc.

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