Tiny Reviews: Metta Quintet, Guillaume de Chassy, Jean-Philippe Scali, & Malte Schiller’s Red Balloon

Tiny Reviews, featuring:  Metta Quintet Big Drum, Small World, Guillaume de Chassy Silences, Jean-Philippe Scali Evidence, and Malte Schiller’s Red Balloon The Second Time Is Different.

A strong line-up of albums today, including one (de Chassy Silences), which has made it into my daily rotation, another that is threatening to (Metta Quintet), and an album that has a song so uplifting that it might just steal your heart (“Eternel Present” from Scali’s Evidence).

Let’s begin…


Metta Quintet – Big Drum, Small World

Metta Quintet is the performing arm of non-profit organization JazzReach, dedicated to the promotion, performance, creation and teaching of jazz music. Past members have included Miguel Zenon, Omer Avital, Helen Sung. among other musician all-stars. The current line-up features mainstays Marcus Strickland (tenor sax) and Josh Ginsburg (bass), and two newcomers- David Bryant (piano) and Greg Ward (alto sax).  It’s a straight-ahead affair, and short, too: Five tracks clocking at just over a half hour.  But it’s solid jazz that won’t steer anybody wrong.  Also worth listening to is an earlier album Subway Songs, with the NYC train system as the thematic device.  Neat stuff.

Overall, just a really enjoyable album.

For newcomers to jazz, if you’re looking to explore a bit on your own, I highly recommend checking out the discographies of current and past members of Metta Quintet, as well as past Metta Quintet recordings.  You’ll find a gold mine of great jazz.  Personal favorite is bassist Omer Avital, but I can’t envision anyone going wrong by blindly pulling a name from the Metta Quintet roster and just diving in.

Released by the JazzReach label.

Available on eMusic.


Guillaume de Chassy – Silences

It seems, lately, that jazz albums recorded by former classical pianists have been hitting New Arrivals with some noticeable frequency.  A common trait among the better of those releases is that the pianist seems unwilling to fight the gravitational pull of either music.  One would think that it would lead to a confused muddle of compositions, but instead, many of these albums fuse the best of both worlds and produce some intriguing music.  That’s what we got here.  With Guillaume de Chassy on piano, in a trio with bass and clarinet, he gives us a startlingly resonant chamber jazz recording.  Elegant and haunting.

Your album personnel:  Guillaume de Chassy (piano), Thomas Savy (clarinets), and Arnault Cuisinier (double bass).

This album has grown on me exponentially over the last month.  It’s quickly becoming one of those albums that I’m almost compelled to listen to first thing in the morning.  Piano lines that are only delicate on their face, but possess a sharpness that pierces silence with a wave of the keys.  Clarinets that can paint every shade of heartbreak.  Bass that doesn’t hide in the shadows, but instead makes the shadows part of the music.  Beautiful.

Released on the Bee Jazz label.  Jazz from the Ile-de-France, France scene.

Available on eMusic.


Jean-Philippe Scali – Evidence

Pretty cool large ensemble album from the French saxophonist.  Jean-Phillipe Scali on alto, baritone, and soprano saxes, and backed by piano, Fender Rhodes, trumpet, trombone, bass, drums, and some guesting with vibes, bass clarinet, tenor sax, and an additional trombone.  Nice hopping tunes with some nifty wrinkles to keep things interesting, like on the the catchy “Five Minutes’ Walk”.  Unmistakably jazz, from a musician with an inventive touch.

Your album personnel:  Jean-Philippe Scali (alto, baritone, and soprano saxes), Julien Alour (trumpet, bugle), Jerry Edwards (trombone), Adrien Chicot (piano & fender rhodes), Simon Tailleu (bass), and Manu Franchi (drums), with guests:  Francois Theberge (tenor sax), Thomas Savy (bass clarinet), Bastien Ballaz (trombone), and Stephan Carracci (vibes).

In addition to the music available on Scali’s soundcloud page, it appears you can stream a bunch of album tracks on his artist page, here.

This is a strong album, and I highly recommend checking it out.  Some exhilarating moments, like on the excellent “Eternel Present,” which I could listen to over and over again.  As I mention above, the tune is so uplifting, it’s gonna steal some hearts.

Released on the Abeille Musique label.  Jazz from the Paris scene.

Available on eMusic.


Malte Schiller’s Red Balloon – The Second Time Is Different

Nice big band recording from a young group of players. Lighthearted, with that necessary touch of melancholy that gives gentle texture to any solid large ensemble session. This should take care of anybody’s need for a warm big band fix to fight off the bleak winter months.  Not a lot of information found online about them.  Here’s a link to the site of an ensemble member who has a little info on the group.

And while I hate providing a link to myspace, it does appear that you can stream all or most of the album there, so here’s the link to his album’s myspace page.

Released on the Unit Records label.

Available on eMusic.


That’s it for today’s article, and the second of three 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.