New Jazz Adds – 4/7/2020
Amina Figarova – Persistence (Self-produced): “An Azerbaijan-born pianist and composer, Amina Figarova is known for her harmonically sophisticated small and large group post-bop. Following her emergence in the mid-’90s, Figarova has split her time between work in Europe and her home in New York City. Collaborating with her husband, flutist Bart Platteau, she has earned praise for albums like 2005’s Come Escape with Me, 2015’s Blue Whisper, and 2019’s Road to the Sun.” (https://www.allmusic.com/artist/amina-figarova-mn0000020698/biography) “Genre-splicing fusion is a tricky thing to get right. Strike the wrong balance between structure and sound, and you can end up with a pastiche that does a disservice to each component part. For pianist Amina Figarova, it’s a risky move to produce an electronic-inflected, part hip-hop and funk-jazz fusion album after 20 years leading an acoustic ensemble.” (https://www.aminafigarova.com/) Figarova composed all of the songs with lyrics provided by JSWISS and Skye’s World on one song each and spoken words on one song by Paul Jost. The backing musicians are Rez Abbasi (guitar), Bart Platteau (Bb flute and EWI), Yasushi Nakamura (bass) and Rudy Royston (drums). Click here and scroll down to listen to two songs from this disc.
Alex Goodman – Impressions In Blue And Red (Outside In Music): “Impressions in Blue and Red features two quartets of identical instrumentation led by New York based guitarist Alex Goodman. The music explores synesthesia and the relationship between color in visual art and music. Impressions in Blue features Ben Van Gelder (alto sax), Martin Nevin (bass), and Jimmy Macbride (drums); Impressions in Red features Alex LoRe (alto sax), Rick Rosato (bass) and Mark Ferber (drums).” (https://www.alexgoodmanmusic.com/biography-c1w2m) The explanations of the characteristics each color delivers are as follows: “(BLUE is) ‘powerful, but it is on the negative side, and in its highest purity is, as it were, a stimulating negation. Its appearance, then, is a kind of contradiction between excitement and repose.’ (“Theory of Colours / Goethe)” and (RED) “rings inwardly with a determined intensity. It glows in itself, maturely, and does not distribute its vigor aimlessly.” (Concerning the Spiritual in Art / Wassily Kandinsky) Interesting and inviting. Click here and listen to samples of all of the songs on this set.
Jocelyn Gould – Elegant Traveler (Posi-Tone): “Jocelyn Gould is a jazz guitarist based in Toronto. She cites Grant Green, Kenny Burrell, Wes Montgomery and Joe Pass as primary influences of the instrument. Jocelyn maintains an active performance career in the U.S. and Canada. She has performed at the St. Lucia Jazz Festival, the Detroit Jazz Festival and the TD Toronto Jazz Festival. She has performed internationally with Grammy nominated vocalist Freddy Cole, Trumpeter Etienne Charles and DownBeat Rising Star trombonist Michael Dease.” (https://www.jocelyngould.com/home/#about) This is Gould’s first release as a leader and she offers seven originals and covers Cole Porter’s “It’s All Right With Me”, Richard Rodgers’ “It Might As Well Be Spring” and Duke Ellington’s “All Too Soon”. The performance is based on a quartet including Addison Frei (piano), George DeLancey (bass) and Quincy Davis (drums) with guests trombonist Michael Dease on three songs, Anthony Stanco (trumpet on three songs) and Brandon Wright (tenor sax on two songs). There is terrific soloing and interplay on this release. Click here to listen to samples of three of her original songs on this disc.
Robbie Krieger – The Ritual Begins At Sundown (Players Club / Mascot): “With the uncertainty due to the Covid 19 outbreak, we have decided to move the release date of Robby Krieger’s album, “The Ritual Begins At Sundown”, to August 14, 2020. The Ritual Begins At Sundown is a 10 song instrumental record with 9 originals and one cover, the Frank Zappa song ‘Chunga’s Revenge,’ The album features Krieger’s long time writing partner, co-producer and former Zappa bassist Arthur Barrow, and Zappa alumni Tommy Mars (keyboards) and Chad Wackerman (drums).” (http://robbykrieger.com/) Some nice funky things along the way! Click here to listen to a song from this disc.
Chris Montague – Warmer Than Blood (Whirlwind): “Chris Montague is widely recognized for his skills as a guitarist and composer. As a founder member of Troyka he has garnered a reputation for his distinctive approach to the guitar and has gained much acclaim for his contribution to many contemporary recordings.” (https://chrismontaguemusic.com/) His new trio ‘Warmer than Blood’ features Kit Downes (piano) and Ruth Goller (bass). “While Chris’s reputation as a startlingly original composer is already well established, not least through his longstanding collaboration with Downes in the much lauded Troyka project, this release marks the first in Chris’ extensive discography to be entirely under his leadership, and his choice of an unusual line-up was both fortuitous and deliberate. “I love how Ruth and Kit both interpret music, they were always going to be my first choice – and writing for a band without drums made us work much harder to create dynamics and shape within each piece. This brought out a whole new dimension in the compositions”. (https://www.whirlwindrecordings.com/chris-montague-to-release-warmer-than-blood-ft-kit-downes-and-ruth-goller-may-8th-2020/) The improvisation, blending and warmth of this set is both intriguing and mesmerizing. Click here to listen to a live version of the title song.
Farnell Newton – Rippin’ & Runnin’ (Posi-Tone): “Farnell Newton gets up on the good foot and heads off “Rippin’ & Runnin'” full speed ahead on his second leader album for Posi-Tone. This action packed session features the high powered front line of Newton’s trumpet and Brandon Wright’s hard-swinging tenor saxophone, alongside the all-star rhythm section of organist Brian Charette and drummer Rudy Royston. With an exciting and evocative program of music, that includes several amazing original songs, an amazing combination of top notch talents, and a sizzling score of brilliant performances, “Rippin’ & Runnin’ ” is poised and ready to evoke a wide variety of bright moments with jazz fans everywhere.” (https://posi-tone.com/riprun/riprun.html) Four originals from Newton and one from Wright and Ellington’s “Come Sunday” among others. There’s a lot of power here and great interaction. Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.
Carl Saunders – Jazz Trumpet (Summit): ““Carl Saunders, Jazz Trumpet” is a blend of Jazz standards, American songbook standards and originals which could be referred to as future “New Jazz Standards” featuring the great and legendary Joe Labarbera on drums, the great and legendary bassist Chuck Berghofer and the young, new and brilliant pianist Josh Nelson. Saunders began as a young man – in 1961-62 on the road with Stan Kenton. After spending part of 1962-63 traveling with Bobby Sherwood’s group (playing drums), Carl settled back in Las Vegas where during the next 20 years he played with a countless number of show bands, including lead trumpet with Ella Fitzgerald, Tony Bennet, and Frank Sinatra. Saunders also traveled as a lead player with Paul Anka and Robert Goulet and with such bandleaders as Si Zentner, Harry James, Maynard Ferguson and Benny Goodman.” (https://www.summitrecords.com/release/carl-saunders-jazz-trumpet-carl-saunders/) In addition to Saunders, musicians are Josh Nelson (piano), Chuck Berghofer (bass) and Joe Labarbera (drums). The backing musicians are truly tight and right on it, but the show here is Saunders and his exquisite playing. I regret I am unable to find a sample from this disc.
Johnny Summers – Baker’s Dozen: Celebrating Chet Baker (Cellar Music): Johnny Summers (vocals, trumpet), offers a tribute to Chet Baker both with his voice and horn and a folder full of tunes from the great American songbook, including Cahn and Styne’s “Time After Time”, McHugh and Loesser’s “Let’s Get Lost”, the Gershwins’ “Embraceable You”, Cole Porter’s “You’d Be So Nice To Come Home To” and nine more classics. Summers even sounds rather like Baker, but with a richer tone. He sings and plays trumpet, flugelhorn and the hybrid Flumpet invented for Art Farmer by David Monette with a pitch of B♭. The disc is quite lush with a golden lush from beginning to end. The main musicians featured are Johnny Summers (voice, trumpet), Egor Ukoloff (piano), Kodi Hutchinson (bass), and Karl Schwonik and Jamie Cooper (drums). Swoonsville! Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.
Rachel Therrien – Vena (Bonzai): “Between New York City and Montreal, French-Canadian trumpeter, composer and producer Rachel Therrien boasts an enviable CV. She is considered one of the most promising jazz musicians, playing a wide variety of musical styles and rhythms.” (http://racheltherrien.com/) This is her fifth release as a leader and it contains fifteen original compositions. Therrien plays trumpet and flugelhorn and plays in a style that truly shines. Supporting musicians are Daniel Gassin (piano), Dario Guibert (bass) and Mareike Wiening (drums) with Irving Acao adding sax to two songs. The set is wonderfully fresh and joyful. Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.
Trio Kleine Ahnung – Laniakea (Earshift Music): “Trio Kleine Ahnung bring together three of Australia’s finest jazz musicians who currently reside all over the world in Berlin, New York and Melbourne. The band members – Carl Morgan (guitar), Sam Anning (bass) and Raj Jayaweera (drums) – have performed in a variety of combinations and settings for over ten years at festivals and clubs around the globe. Morgan and Anning are both Wangaratta National Jazz Award winners and all three members have been Freedman Fellowship finalists. In early 2019, Anning and Jayaweera were on tour in Europe and found themselves with a week off mid-tour. They decided to visit Berlin and reconnected with Morgan who is now based in Germany. The trio spent the week playing and recording in Morgan’s Neukölln studio, exploring the guitar trio format with the addition of loops, layers and textures.… Trio Kleine Ahnung play original compositions inspired by indie-rock, Nordic minimalism, and the New York downtown jazz scene.” (https://www.isrbx.net/3137764686-trio-kleine-ahnung-laniakea-2020.html) “Laniakea is the new album from Trio Kleine Ahnung, a collaboration between guitarist Carl Morgan, bassist Sam Anning and drummer Raj Jayaweera. Spawned from a week off from a busy European tour schedule, the members contribute stand-out compositions and performances that draw inspiration from indie-rock, Radiohead and German folk-song, creating an impressive album that stands on the shoulders of guitar greats such as Bill Frisell and Kurt Rosenwinkel.” (https://triokleineahnung.bandcamp.com/album/laniakea) All but one song are original compositions of by a member of the group. Sean Wayland joins the group on synth on one song. Click here to listen to the songs on this disc.
Seth Weaver Big Band – Truth (Outside In Music): Jazz trombonist/vocalist Seth Weaver offers his first release as a leader. The program includes five original compositions and three classics from the great American songbook: “It Could Happen To You”, “Here’s That Rainy Day” and “On A Clear Day”. The players include Lucas Dodd (alto sax, clarinet), Alex LoRe (alto sax, flute), Sam Dillon (tenor sax, clarinet), Lukas Gabric (tenor sax), Eitan Gofman (bari sax, clarinet); Nick Grinder, Corey Wallace, Peter Nelson (trombones) and James Borowski (bass trombone); John Lake, Nolan Tsang, Andrew Neesley, and Oskar Stenmark (trumpets); Aleksi Glick (guitar), Addison Frei (piano), Marty Kenney (bass) and Nolan Byrd (drums). The performance is straight ahead classic big band. Click here and scroll down to hear samples of the songs on this disc.
Adrian Younge & Ali Shaheed Muhammad – 1 (Jazz Is Dead): “In 2017, the Los Angeles promoter Andrew Lojero had an idea for a new jazz concert series. Along with A Tribe Called Quest DJ-producer Ali Shaheed Muhammad and prolific R&B and hip-hop composer-producer Adrian Younge — the duo behind throwback soul project the Midnight Hour and the Luke Cage soundtrack — he began putting together bills featuring esteemed jazz veterans such as Roy Ayers and Gary Bartz, and rising stars of the genre like Keyon Herrold. Lojero dubbed the series Jazz Is Dead. “I thought the name was bold, provocative and exactly what was needed to stir things up,” Muhammad writes in an email. “For us it’s more than a show; it’s a celebration of our treasured bastions of freedom.” Now, three years later, the team is furthering the project with the launch of a new label bearing the same name. The first release, Jazz Is Dead 001 … is a compilation on which Younge and Muhammad team up with their musical heroes to create brand-new tracks. The track list is studded with artists who have been sampled for years by hip-hop heavyweights such as A Tribe Called Quest, Dr. Dre, Nas, and J Dilla: jazz-funk vibraphonist Ayers; Bartz, the saxophonist, NTU Troop leader, and onetime Miles Davis sideman; Brian Jackson, who collaborated with Gil Scott-Heron on a long string of landmark Seventies albums; bossa nova luminaries João Donato and Marcos Valle; keyboardist Doug Carn, whose Seventies LPs on Oakland’s Black Jazz label are highly prized by crate diggers; and Brazilian jazz-funk outfit Azymuth. “We want them to feel the love for what they have given us in a time where a spotlight may not be shining brightly on their works,” Muhammad says of the artists featured on Jazz Is Dead 001.” (https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-news/jazz-is-dead-ali-shaheed-muhammad-adrian-younge-roy-ayers-969154/) Click here and scroll down to listen to the songs on this disc.