New Jazz Adds – 11/25/2015

New Jazz Adds – 11/25/2015

Bathysphere – Bathysphere (Driff): Taking the title and from the name of a diving bell used to set new diving records in 1934, this group sets out to explore new possibilities as well. The instrumentation is broader and more unique than that of most others and features Jorrit Dijkstra, Tony Malaby, Seth Meicht, and Charlie Kohlhase on saxophones; Pandelis Karayorgis (piano), Taylor Ho Bynum (cornet); Forbes Graham and Daniel Rosenthal (trumpet); Jeb Bishop and Jeff Galindo (trombone); Josiah Reibstein (tuba); Nate McBride and Jef Charlene (bass), Luther Gray (drums); and Andrew Neumann (analog electronics). This is adventurous music so be prepared to encounter the unexpected and unusual. Note, however, that “the pieces were composed with the individual musicians in mind and their contributions during the rehearsal process were crucial.” (From the liner notes)  Click here to listen to some samples.

Tom Collier – Across The Bridge (Origin): Collier plays vibes and marimba on these nine original compositions and he changes moods and styles with with ease and command. He also keeps terrific company in a group of musicians who can bring their special talents to augment his shifts. Guitarists Larry Coryell and Bill Frisell add the wonderful coloring one would expect of them and bassist Dan Dean even takes a turn on guitar while maintaining his melodic and rhythmic bass. Ted Poor and John Bishop trade of duties at the drum kit. This is a beautiful collection and it does swing.  Click here to sample the disc and hear for yourself! 

Leny Andrade – Alegria De Viver (Motemo): Veteran Brazilian singer Andrade picked this song list expressly to take advantage of the guitar stylings of her co-performer, Roni Ben-Hur. Eachh song was recorded live with in the same studio in order to enhance the intimacy of the performances. Andrade’s voice is soft and beautiful (it is hard to believe she is 72) and Ben-Hur’s chording provides terrific accompaniment. Click here to listen to the opening track. 

Dave Douglas Quintet – Brazen Heart (Greenleaf): Trumpeter Dave Douglas leads his quintet through nine original compositions and two traditional songs he classifies as “some of the mostt emotionally profound melodies” he knows. These two are “Deep River” and There Is A Balm In Gilead”. He composed the title song to be performed at the World Trade Center site in New York. In addition to Douglas’ exquisite trumpet, the quiet includes Jon Irabagon on tenor sax, Matt Mitchell on piano, Linda Oh on bass, and Rudy Royston on drums. Like Douglas, this group can step things up, even at times verging on coming apart, but always coalescing at just the right moment.  Click here to listen to the title song.

Dave Douglas & Uri Caine – Present Joys (Greenleaf): Trumpeter Douglas and pianist Uri Caine join forces on five Douglas compositions and five from the Sacred Harp, Ye Olde New-England Psalm-Tunes, a collection of music from the 17th Century “shape-note” style. The trumpet-piano combination creates a certain formality while giving the space for swinging jazz interaction. The duo flows seamlessly between the styles. Recorded in 2013. Click here to listen to the title song.

David Friesen & Glen Moore – Bactrian (Origin): The partnership of bass masters Friesen and Moore would seem destined to elicit one of two opposing reactions: (1) two bass players and nothing for variety / melody for half of the recording? Even given the half when one or the other slips over to the piano, that’s a awful lot of bass! (2) two of the most inventive and accomplished bassists and we’ll get the chance to focus on their individual and combined compositions and interactions – what better pairing could one find to experience the richness of expression they will offer? Take the opportunity or, if you are skeptical, the risk. There is great beauty, some free form interaction, and some novel interpretations, like “Summer Time” or “Caravan” as bass duets, on offer. Click here for samples and an overview of this disc.

Gaetano Letizia – Froggy & The Toads (Self-produced): Ready to jump? Feeling froggish? Here’s a disc you’re going to want to check out! Guitarist Letizia (presumably, “Froggy”) and toads Mike Clark (drums) and Wilbur Krebs (bass) are a jumping little trio from Cleveland looking to have some fun. The songs cover a lot of ground from “Toad Funk” to “Frog Tacos” to Hip Hoppin’ Back To You”. Krebs has played with Bob Weir’s RatDog, Clark was one of Herbie Hancock’s Headhunters and Letizia has jumped all over the place. There’s a funky jam band feel to this disc as the group runs through the various sonic shades on offer. No flies on this outing! Click here to try a sample. 

Matchbox – Matchbox (Driff): Remember the first disc review (“Bathysphere”)? Three performers on that disc – Jorrit Dijkstra (alto sax, Lyricon, analog synth); Pandelis Karayorgis (piano); and Nate McBride (bass) – with the addition of drummer Curt Newton are back to take you on a another outside and often free style sonic excursion through ten original compositions (four by Dijkstra, six by Karayorgis).  The quartet formed in 2012 and “started developing a new, distinctive sound, featuring Dijkstra’s lyricon and analog electronics. The strong melodic, rhythmic, and structural elements presented in Karayorgis’s and Dijkstra’s tunes function like anchors, providing plenty of space for open improvisations and interaction.” (Driff Records web notes).  Click here and scroll down to listen to some samples from this disc. 

Charles Owens – A Day With Us (Rope-a-dope): Hopefully, you have had the chance to see tenor sax wizard Charles Owens live (he currently lives in Cville), but whether you have or not, get a hold of this disc and prepare to be dazzled from the introduction of what turns out to be “Caravan”. As I was giving this disc my initial listen, I was so stunned at the introduction that I had to rush to the player and start it again so I could follow the set up and realization of this song in complete detail. Whether introductions or solos, Owens’ flights of fancy are stunning as well as totally fresh. His introduction and transformation of “Take Five” will have the same impact.  Owens’ musical backing is provided by bassist Andrew Randazzo and drummer Devonne Harris and the combination is totally “there”!  The disc includes two Owens originals and a range of covers from  Frank Loesser’s “On A Slow Boat To China” to Billy Strayhdorn’s “UMMG” and George Harrison’s “Something”.  Click here to check out live versions of several songs on this disc and BTW go catch Owens LIVE the very next time he’s here!

William Parker – Raining On The Moon (Great Spirit): William Parker is a prolific composer and performer as the continuous efforts of his producer, Steven Joerg, to publish as much of his complex and deeply expressive music attests. This release was prompted by an invitation for his band, Raining On The Moon, to perform at the most recent “Joy Of Jazz Festival” in Johannesburg, South Africa, and completes Parker’s overall musical vision for this particular work when added to the disc “Corn Meal Dance”. Both contain great focus on the persecution of Black Americans during and after slavery and resonated so clearly with Black South Africans as well. The performance features William Parker on bass, Hamid Drake on drums, Rob Brown on alto sax, Eri Yamamoto on piano, Lewis Barnes on trumpet, and Leena Conquest on vocals. The songs are narrative and blunt at times and being sung over the musical tension by the instrumentalists increases their power. The disc concludes with a live performance dedicated to Whitney Houston (“Song (for Whitney)”) and a jam performed at the end of the recording session, entitled “Potpourri”.  Click here to listen to a song from this disc.

Various Artists – Detroit Jazz City (Blue Note): Here’s a compilation of special note! It is dedicated to the memory of Detroit trumpeter Marcus Belgrave who passed away last May and in his honor and the honor of his spirit of deep community, the musicians on the disc are donating the proceeds from their performances on this disc to Focus: HOPE, an organization founded in1968 in Detroit and has “grown to become a nationally renowned civil and human rights organization diligently working to bridge the racial divide in southeast Michigan through our food program, career training programs, and HOPE Village Initiative.”  Here’s the list of performers across the disc: Marcus Belgrave (trumpet); Marion Hayden, Ron Carter, Jimmy Garrison, and Butch Warren (bass); Mike Jellick, Kenny Cox, Cedar Walton and Herbie Hancock (piano); James Carter (soprano sax); Lee Morgan and Curtis Fuller (trombone); Bobby Hutcherson (vibes); Joe Farrell and Wayne Shorter (tenor sax);  A. Spencer Barefield (guitar); Sheila Jordan (vocals); and Joe Chambers, Elvin Jones, Billy Higgins, and Sean Dobbins (drums). A great cause and a terrific set!  I regret I am not able to link to a sample, perhaps because the release date is in December.  Click here to watch a vintage performance by Marcus Belgrade.

David S. Ware & Apogee – Birth Of A Being (Aum Fidelity): This double disc re-issues the first recordings in 1977 by David S. Ware (originally on hatHut). The first disc includes all of the original release and the second disc issues other unreleased takes from those sessions. This is very challenging music performed by Ware on tenor sax, Cooper-Moore on piano, and Marc Edwards on drums. All but one song was composed by Ware and the remaining track was composed by Cooper-Moore.  The overall performance is probably best classified as free jazz, reminiscent of the most challenging work of John Coltrane.  I am unable to find a sample from these sessions, but to find out more about Ware and his music, click here for a short feature filmed by David Lynch that features some of Ware’s music and discussion. 




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