Tiny Reviews: Tim Berne, Todd Clouser, Matt Wilson, & San Francisco Latin Jazz Society

Tiny Reviews, featuring:  Tim Berne Snakeoil, Todd Clouser’s A Love Electric 20th Century Folk Selections, Matt Wilson An Attitude For Gratitude, and San Francisco Latin Jazz Society This.


Tim Berne – Snakeoil

Snakeoil is alto saxophonist Tim Berne’s first release on ECM under his own name, but it’s his third appearance on the label. Contributing as a sideman on David Torn’s Prezens and Michael Formanek’s The Rub and the Spare Change, two excellent albums in their own right, Berne is more than familiar with the ECM aesthetic and its leaning toward sparseness and tranquility. It’s nice to hear that ECM clearly let Berne follow his own sound and vision. Plenty of ferocity and wild improvisational aeronautics, this is the kind of album that compels people to sit up and listen.

Your album personnel:  Tim Berne (alto sax), Oscar Noriega (clarinet, bass clarinet), Matt Mitchell (piano), and Ches Smith (drums, percussion).

Released on the ECM Records label.

Available at eMusic.


Todd Clouser’s A Love Electric – 20th Century Folk Selections

Up-and-coming guitarist Todd Clouser takes eight modern tunes that he calls “folkloric in nature” and funnels them through a jazz ensemble.  Includes songs like Neil Young’s “Damage and the Needle Done”, the Beastie Boys’ “Gratitude”, and Nirvana’s “All Apologies”.  Some magnificent interpretations.  Whereas some jazz covers of modern rock and pop tunes seem to come down to inspiration filed under “Wouldn’t-It-Be-Cool-If?”, Clouser thankfully takes ownership of the tunes and gives them his own voice and vision while still paying his respects to the melodies of the original versions.  Case in point… he transmutes Pearl Jam’s insipid “Release” into a sonic diamond.  One of the most exciting musicians on the scene.

Your album personnel:  Todd Clouser (guitars, Rhodes piano), Mark Aanderud (piano), Aaron Crus (bass), Hernan Hecht (drums), Adam Mackler (trumpet), Bryan Nichols (Fender Rhodes), Rick Parker (trombone), and Cyro Baptista (percussion), with guests Steven Bernstein (trumpet) and Greg Schute (percussion).

Released on the Royal Potato Family label.  Jazz from the Minneapolis, MN scene.

NOTE:  I’m gonna see about doing a full length review of this album, either for Bird is the Worm or Music is Good.

Available at eMusic.


Matt Wilson – An Attitude For Gratitude

Even as he grows increasingly experimental with his sound, drummer Matt Wilson never loses that essential swing. On his current release, joined by Terell Stafford on trumpet & flugelhorn, Gary Versace on piano, organ & accordion, and Martin Wind on bass, Wilson doesn’t do anything to restrain his inventive nature, yet it’s difficult to find a tune here that doesn’t force the foot to tap along with it.  Wilson is like a clockmaker who can’t help but perpetually deconstruct his timepieces, clean them, tweak them, and improve them, except that he does this with Jazz.  And since I (inadvertently) set myself up for this, I should add that, like the clockmaker, Wilson’s time on drums is flawless.  Just great stuff here.

To read a formal review I wrote for the album on Bird is the Worm (including sound sample and extra info links), click here.

Available at eMusic.


San Francisco Latin Jazz Society – This

New album from this little known jazz outfit that put out one of the best albums of 2011 that nobody heard.  A follow-up to 2011 release Now What.  Unlike anybody else I’ve heard on the scene, the San Francisco Latin Jazz Society channels the latin-jazz-fusion of Gato Barbieri and the rock-jazz fusion of Mahavishu Orchestra.  This music is both compelling and fun, current and nostalgic, and Highly Recommended.

Your album personnel:  Scott Brown (guitar & percussion), Jim Gordon (tenor sax & piano), Andy Woodhouse (bass), John S Rodriguez (drums), and Alex Nunez (conga).

NOTE:  I’m in the process of writing a formal album review, to be published either on AllAboutJazz or Bird is the Worm.

Download a free album track at AllAboutJazz, courtesy of the artists.  Jazz from the San Francisco scene.

Available at eMusic.


That’s it for today’s article, and the first of four 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.